It’s Curtains For This Project! (ugh…)

Okay, let’s all pretend that painful little pun in the title didn’t happen and revisit the subject of all my worry and attention for the last week. On Friday I presented my packaging mock-up to fellow students and most importantly our tutor who was supervising the project. This was the final opportunity to recieve feedback on the project, at least before we submit the project for review around Christmas time, when we actually recieve our grades.

What this meant was that the packaging was meant to be mostly finished by the point we presented on Friday, open to at least some minor tweaks after that point, but make any major changes and you’re effectively firing in the dark. So in that case it’s a good case the packaging was relatively well recieved. The main flaw highlighted by the tutor was that the graphics on the inside of the packaging were too dark to make this contraption and child’s plaything. Whilst art deco can be immensely pretty it tends on to lend itself to a younger demographic due to its sometimes unforgiving geometric rigidity and dark expressionist lighting and shading. I did have really solid reasoning for opting for the art deco visuals, it being the prevalent style at the time Judy Garland’s career hit its peak. Its themes also resonate with Garland’s persona, decadence and drama a built into the dynamics and overarching motives of art deco and these reflected perfectly with her attitude to both life and her professional work. Finally it was a visual influence lifted from the covers of Vogue magazines at the time, Vogue being a magazine focusing on beauty and glamour, the main fixations that plagued Garland throughout her life, driving her to alcholism and drug addiction.

Nevertheless, that reasoning obviously doesn’t work with children and the dark tone can’t be ignored as aimed at a more mature audience. Perhaps it is an adult’s plaything, more for novelty than anything else, or even decoration in itself. It also appeals to a generation who remember paper toys, such as paper dolls with clip-on paper clothes. This idea has now led me onto fixing the other largest criticism of the project, which is that the inserts that held the curtains upright and rigid could have been utilised to a greater extent. The inserts I presented were covered solely in a few referential icons to her film career as a whole, but were not items that could be used alongside the playset. The paper-doll idea holds a more subtle and playful as manipulating the lead doll’s appearances through dressing her up would reflect the treatment of Garland from her studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Above you can see a work-in-progress shot of the final packaging. It stood up fine with the two layers of stage, however structural issues became abundant upon the introduction of the backdrop to the stage. Whilst the curtains are inserted and the item is on the shelf the piece as a whole stands firmly by itself. However once the stage is extended the weight of the mountboard on which the graphics are mounted makes the packaging top-heavy, making the stage slump forward onto itself. It still stands, but clearly not in the intended manner. This is the main issue I’ll wrestle with before the final hand-in, to making sure the backdrops lean back on the central bucket to keep the structure’s centre of gravity in the right place.

The bucket itself, during construction, needed weighting to stay upright at all whilst extended. To remedy this the bucket which holds curtains now also holds a small slab of plasticine. Not only did this give the packaging a firm base and lower centre of gravity but it also makes the extended stage piece heavier, making it, from a tangible point of view, a more worthwhile object and a worthwhile posession in itself.

Overall these are all criticisms which only ask for additions to the current mock-up, which is a massive relief, as if I’d had to remake the packaging again it would have been absolute hell. The next step is to add tabs to prevent the stage from extending too far and compromising the structurual integrety and also making new inserts with new cut-out dolls for inside the curtains. Aside that this is the final thing. Gordon highlighted the issue with it not being kid-friendly but also said the attention to detail made up for that easily. Which is a comment I can live with.

Listening to: 90s Kids by Oh No! Yoko


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