One Hell Of A Box…

Well, it feels odd that this is only the third post I’m writing about my packaging module and it’s already due for final crit on Friday. Deadlines really are tight this year I guess. But it’s been one hell of a week. Emphasis on the word hell. Curtain-centric hell.

Anyone who’s seen me try to cut anything out will know how infuriatingly useless I am at it, so the fact that the final outcome of this project depends on it is a worrying sign. To cut (hah) a long story short I’ve ended up having to harass my poor girlfriend for help cutting out many of the assets of the packaging. The concept of it is for it to be a bucket and back support structure, where the back has several layers that when the curtains are lifted from the packaging extend out to create a stage scene. The inserts holding up the curtains then also have cutouts to be used like props for the stage, each one relating to one of Judy Garland’s films. There’s a snowman for Meet Me In St Louis (where Garland sings ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas‘), an American miliatary armband for Judgement At Nuremberg (for which she was Academy Award Nominated) and there’s a star for A Star Is Born (another Oscar-nominated performance). These more specific references should link the packaging specifically to Garland, not to mention the references to these films and more on the back of the pack.

The packaging took the form of a stage in an attempt to encompass more of Garland’s career than the Wizard Of Oz. Throughout the duration of the project I found it pertinent to acknowledge Garland’s life after her largest film and realise that some of her greatest achievements were not even in film but on the stage, one of her biggest successes being at the Carnegie Hall in 1961, a sell-out show regarded by many as the ‘greatest night in show business’. It also reflects her life before Wizard Of Oz, coming from a family of vaudevillians who themselves owned a movie theatre. Family is an important thing to relate to with Garland, as it sparked her entire career, and was the only positive thing in an otherwise difficult and turbulent life. Acting continued through the family, as her daughters took to the stage, most notably Liza Minelli.

For this reason the curtains, as a product, are branded towards a family, and designed for family homes. The curtains whilst packed are a sophisticated art deco singularity, sepia toned save for important elements, to reflect the cultural impact Garland’s biggest film had on the world of film. This creates a mature tone, proper and adult, however when the packaging is opened and the curtains are lifted the packaging becomes a children’s plaything. The curtains can be used leaving the packaging to extend out into a stage set with the inserts cut up into playable figures and props.

The art deco tone also felt relevant considering the time Garland’s career peaked, in the late 30s into the 40s, a time where American showbusiness was plastered with the airbrushed radiance of art deco. It’s a look I struggled with at first, but understood the importance of lighting and other influences that contributed to the art deco trend, such as constructivism and touches of German expressionism. All of this reinforces the crisp and sophisticated elegance of the packaged item. The curtains are to be tied back to the packaging with gold ribbon, in keeping the with extravagance of art deco that particularly permeated Garland’s Hollywood. This extravagance is maintain on the inside of the packaging when the stage scene is extended, depicting the utopian Emerald City in a skyline view, one that was repeated throughout art deco to echo a sense of prosperity at the time.

So why the Wizard Of Oz scene on the inside of the packaging? For one it is unmistakably linked to Garland exclusively, but also represents that the legacy of Wizard Of Oz poisoned her stage career in many ways, resulting in people frequently expecting another rendition of ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’. In this sense the packaging acknowledges how Garland found it difficult to escape her past. It also creates a more fantastical world on the inside of the packaging, to appeal to the younger consumers in the family this product is aimed at.

And finally: why ‘Dotlight’? Dot being short for Dorothy, and it being a play on words of ‘spotlight’, which shined so harshly on Garland from such a young age. It also reiterates the stage concept one final, succinct time.
I might post again when this whole thing is assembled (hopefully tomorrow) to justify my concept more, but hopefully this demonstrates that the concept itself is well considered. Hopefully.

Listening to: It Was A Good Day by Ice Cube


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