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Thorranze Cheung

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Expect The Unexpected: Bringing Culture Into Your Next Drinks Package


In the ever-evolving world of the food and drink business, where competition is as fierce as the flavours themselves, captivating the attention of consumers extends beyond mere taste.

The package design serves as a window into the essence of your product, offering an enticing glimpse of the experiences and emotions that lie within. To truly stand out on the shelves and in the hands of your customers, consider infusing your packaging with the charm of deep storytelling.

In this article, we present four ingenious ideas infused with culture creatively that will add zest to your next drink package design. All the ideas are developed in our studio with the consideration of reality and creativity.

(Principal 01)

A Journey Through Foreign Cultures: Crafting a Unique Proposition

One of the most exciting ways to differentiate your food or drink product is by inviting consumers on a journey through foreign cultures. Create a package design inspired by the vibrant colours, patterns, symbols of a specific culture. Weave a captivating narrative around it whilst executing it in a way that aligns with your customers' local culture. This arouses curiosity without intimidating anyone, providing a feeling of freshness, freedom, and diverse expression that today's consumers desire whilst still ensuring their comfort.

Inspiration #01:
Imagin - Oriental Myteries

Imagine this scenario: In the 1940s, in the vibrant city of Shanghai, picture four exquisitely dressed ladies convening around a square table within a Western-inspired mansion.
Their chosen pastime? A game of Mahjong, a classic social tableau celebrated in history and seen in the world-renowned film "In the Mood For Love".

At first glance, the atmosphere appears serene, yet beneath the surface lies a palpable undercurrent of intense competition. This design captures the essence of this moment, casting an enchanting, mildly intoxicating ambiance that tantalisingly hints at mystery.

This design seamlessly blends an array of cultural influences, daring to blur the boundaries that separate different worlds. It effortlessly weaves in prominent visual elements drawn from Chinese culture, while also inviting you on a journey through a tapestry of diverse cultural references from across the globe, all harmonised under a contemporary design language.

At its core, this concept centres around the creation of a collection of bottles, each graced with a unique label inspired by the intricate patterns of Mahjong tiles. Buyers have the chance to amass their own set of Mahjong-themed bottles, transforming their gatherings into lively and competitive parties with friends.

This design exploration delves into the realm of harmonising cultures, aiming to craft an unconventional yet practical aesthetic that infuses products with new layers of meaning and irresistible selling points.

Inspiration #02:
Imagin - Fortune Statement

Building upon our Oriental Mysteries design theme, we aim to delve deeper into the craftsmanship and artistry behind the creation of Mahjong tiles. Mahjong is a widely popular board game which originated in China and boasts a rich history spanning several decades. Whilst the production of Mahjong tiles has evolved over time, the traditional design techniques have remained largely unchanged. However, in recent years, due to economic developments and shifting public interests, the craft of Mahjong tile-making is at risk.

Our intention with this design is to raise awareness about this endangered craft. Our concept revolves around utilising engraving techniques to imprint a Mahjong-inspired pattern onto glass bottles.

By integrating modern graphic elements into the age-old process of Mahjong carving for our bottle designs, we aim to not only showcase the artistry involved but also reinterpret ancient aesthetics.

This approach caters to both Western and Eastern markets as traditional craft methods continue to vanish globally.

Our design pays homage to the skilled artisans who have upheld this tradition.

We've intentionally chosen a vibrant colour palette influenced by contemporary and futuristic trends, as well as the original green hue associated with the "fortune" (發) character in Mahjong. Additionally, abstract gradients have been incorporated, presenting a concept that is both forward-thinking and respectful of our product's historical roots.

This design concept underscores the notion that we can celebrate heritage and tradition through modern design, making cultural heritage exciting and inspiring more individuals to support and preserve it. By doing so, we ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy the intelligence and beauty inherent in world cultures.

(Principal 02)

Gaming by Design:
Adding Interaction and Playfulness

Incorporating a touch of playfulness into your package design can transform a simple transaction into an engaging experience. Consider integrating a small activity or game element that invites consumers to interact with your product. This could range from a simple crossword puzzle related to the ingredients in your product to a QR code that leads to an online cooking challenge using your food item.

The interactive element not only captures attention but also prolongs the engagement, ensuring that your packaging becomes a memorable part of the consumer's day. Remember, every time they reach for your product, they'll be greeted with a dash of delight and an anticipation of the experience to come.

Easter Rabbit Gin

White Rabbit candy from the Far East is a cultural phenomenon with a captivating design history. Initially, it was promoted using a Mickey Mouse graphic, but opposition to Western imagery led to a redesign.

The now-ubiquitous white rabbit illustration has undergone a transformation, resembling the style found in Japanese Anime and Disney, reconnecting the candy with its original cartoon-style branding.

The evolution of the White Rabbit graphic on this package prompted us to consider similar festive imagery from Western traditions. Could we possibly transform the White Rabbit into the Easter Bunny? The original colour palette remains bold and iconic. White Rabbit Gin is instantly recognisable, closely associated with the candy itself, evoking feelings of familiarity and nostalgia among customers.

To further enhance the packaging inspired by the Easter egg hunting game, we've developed an interactive design that allows buyers to customise the inner bottle to their liking. This adds a delightful element of fun to the experience of enjoying this fusion product.

(Principal 03)

Choices that Spark Debate:
A Collection of Diverse Flavours

Food and drink are as diverse as the people who consume them. Embrace this diversity by offering a collection of options that cater to different tastes and preferences. Each package within the collection can be designed to tell a unique story, highlighting the origin, ingredients, and inspiration behind the flavour.

By offering a variety of choices, you not only expand your consumer base but also promote discussion and debate. Imagine a collection of soft drinks, each packaged with unique yet interconnected graphics and anecdotes about the regions they come from. As consumers explore these options, they'll share stories, opinions, and recommendations, fostering a sense of community around your brand.

Post Fizz

Post Fizz emerges as a design concept born in the wake of pandemic-related lockdowns, rooted in the belief that people seek the freedom to embrace diverse lifestyles as restrictions ease. It prompts introspective questions: How do you perceive the New Normal? Does it bring you joy and a sense of liberation? Are you inclined to venture out or prefer the comforts of home?

This design boldly adorns a can, aiming to spark engaging discussions and foster positive discourse.

Its two distinct motifs, one light and the other dark, symbolise the choice between staying in, savouring tranquility, or stepping out to partake in the long-missed revelry.

The primary objective of this design is to stimulate lively debates and interactions among drinkers, thereby generating a significant impact in the market. Ultimately, it aims to raise awareness of the brand and its products.

(Principal 04)

The Unconventional Vessel:
Redefining Packaging Norms

Thinking innovatively about your food and drink packaging goes beyond aesthetics and engages customers through unexpected experiences. Consider introducing a packaging solution that breaks away from the industry norms, utilising a type of bottle or can that's not typically associated with your product category.

Imagine a hot sauce brand packaging its fiery concoctions in sleek, perfume-style bottles. Or, as in the example below, Kombucha in a Prosecco bottle. The unexpected choice not only sparks curiosity but also redefines the way customers interact with the product.

By choosing an unconventional vessel, you not only challenge expectations but also create an immediate conversation starter, turning the packaging into an extension of your brand's innovation. By embracing unusual packaging materials, shapes, and forms, you provide customers with an immersive and memorable encounter that sets your brand apart and demonstrates your commitment to thinking outside the box.

Products of Mind: Moonlight
Prosecco or Kombucha?

Prosecco or Kombucha? Enter "Moonlight: Product of Mind," a collaborative creation between Time Machine, Folks, and HOLOS Kombucha.

Inspired by the eastern origins of Kombucha, we've given this enigmatic, midnight-hued bottle a profound philosophical context rooted in Taoism and Zen-inspired aesthetics. Its purpose is to ignite wonder, contemplation, and a sense of positivity in all those who encounter it.

We've opted for a simple yet highly effective sanded textured paper with silver metallic printing applied on a full black bottle. These design choices imbue Moonlight with a sleek and futuristic appearance, inviting a sensory experience that awakens a universe of gut-love, culture, and imagination.

In a world where we all could use an extra dose of kindness to navigate life's challenges and complexities, Moonlight also seeks to offer a little extra care to every mind. Our intention is to raise awareness about mental health and infuse kindness into people's lives.

Moonlight challenges conventional perceptions of packaging for this type of product. It presents a refreshing and imaginative perspective through its design, sparking curiosity and engagement at first sight.

End Note

The craft of package design goes beyond mere utility. It possesses the ability to transport consumers to faraway places, captivate their senses with engaging interactions, and spark discussions among loved ones. By infusing your food and beverage packaging with rich narratives, you are creating an immersive encounter that extends well beyond the point of sale.

Therefore, allow your packaging to serve as the canvas upon which you weave stories of taste, heritage, and human connection – a work of art that leaves a lasting impression on the hearts and taste buds of your clientele.

Get in touch now (
hello@tmfolks.co) to discuss your next package design project.

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