Making it Real

JULY 21, 2011
Face powder, lip balm, three-piece and one piece soaps are just a few of the items to be branded.

As much as I quiver in excitement at the thought of someone enjoying my work for the split second before they turn a page or pass a newsstand, what really moves me is the chance to make something useful and delightful that exists in the real world.


Such opportunity presented itself recently in the form of La Société Parisienne de Savons (or, slightly less glamorous, Paris Society of Soaps). The object of this project was to repurpose tattered and barely legible remnants of a bygone age of perfumed toiletries into a contemporary product line featuring elegant packaging that, hopefully, you wouldn't want to hide in your medicine cabinet. And yes, this project does fit in nicely with my lifelong ambition to be a forger and counterfeiter.


The challenge was to apply themes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Having to create alphabets from only a few words of vintage lettering kept me gleefully psyched through the hours and days playing the grown-up video game that is Adobe Illustrator. Illustrator's powerful (if excruciatingly slow) 3D effects also provided a formidable resource for exploring and realizing the finished pieces.


The prospect of using match colors and metallics per the originals, had me smiling dreamily at the thought of the rich, luscious colors I would be able to use, and the prospect of negotiating a host of technical guidelines whet my appetite for adventure and gave a good workout to my Braun Type 4835 Calculator (thank you Dieter Rams).


And so, without further ado, a bit about the process and a few of the items to be realized thus far.

Reference consisted of tattered snippets of vintage packages. Everything had to be completely redrawn.

Images had to be applied to a variety of shape and sides needed to be created from imagination as there were no original packages.

In this day of battery-operated flickering "candles," imagine the delight in finding that the lip balm comes in real metal tins.

Flat layouts for three-piece and one-piece round soap packaging, wrapped soap and sticker.

Large and small oval soap and face powder packaging.

Printer's guides and art for the lip balm (of which a complete set will definitely grace my shelves of accumulated treasured things).

To get an idea of how packages will look during the design process, images are applied to 3-dimensional models through a convoluted but, ultimately servicable procedure.

Some musings on possible containers for bath oil.