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February 27, 2006

green design paper

Shopping for products for a green design project is not so easy. I went to The Green Mercantile for paper, but it looked like they only sold it in in big bundles. They have some cool stuff though, including paper made out of elephant crap. Why would anyone think to do that anyways?... some people have too much time on their hands. I went to several other stores downtown such as Electric Fetus, Catherine's Imports and Global Village. They're all very cool stores, but they didn't have much for project materials. I then looked for paper at Michaels. They have a good selection of fun papers, but they sold them by the sheet and I wasn't sure if any of them were recycled or hand made since they had no packaging. Same with True Colors, the scrapbooking store. I ended up buying my paper from Office Max. They had an assortment of recycled papers, many of which were from Wausau Paper Mill. I actually toured that mill as part of AIGA Design Camp in the fall. I was amazed with how huge those rolls of paper become when they're actually making it! Anyways, I found a color that I liked and it was 30% post-consumer waste so it worked out well. Too bad the only package of this paper they had left was ripped open and the ends of the paper were a little crumpled. Of course I still bought it, but I think they should have given me a bigger discount. Come on people.

by design - mankato

I attended the By Design conference in Mankato this weekend, hosted by the MSU AIGA Student Group. They did an awesome job of putting the whole thing together, from the gift bags, to the speakers and workshops, to the delicious doughnuts. It was a really laid back gathering and the MSU students were really nice and helpful. We registered Friday evening and then heard a speech from Paul Wharton of Larsen Design. He first showed off some of the work they'd done. He then let us lead the rest of the lecture by letting us choose stories for him to tell about mistakes that have happened to him or people he knows, and then what he learned from those mistakes. Saturday started early with a nice assortment of doughnuts for breakfast. Needless to say, I probably got my money's worth right there. We had 3 workshops and a lecture that day. First I did a cd case workshop. We made our own little cd cases out of paper and matboard with a small foam ring for a cd to fit around. It was really easy and fun- a nice skill to know for the future. I can't remember the exact order of events, but we had a box lunch (which was also very good) and we heard a lecture from Kate Pabst and Emily Eaton. Their lecture wasn't about showing off work, but about the career paths they had taken since they were friends in college to now sharing a business. Emily started EatonGolden with her husband and Kate Pabst now works with them in that company. Their talk focused on interactive design and it was interesting to hear how they began working with web just as it was getting started. I also did 2 other workshops which were both on printmaking. One of them was supposed to be a presentation from Apple, but they were only available to do the morning session, so they changed ours to a printmaking workshop. That was fine with me because I haven't had any experience with printmaking and it was cool to learn the basics. The instructor for those sessions was really nice and helpful. Later that night we all hung out in the party room at Buffalo Wild Wings. Sunday morning was an informal "show and tell" of student work. I missed the print work, but i saw the digital/web work and some of that was pretty cool. They then had prize drawings for 2 iPod shuffles and a $25 gift card for iTunes which were awesome prizes! Overall it was a really well put-together conference and it was definitely worth the money and the drive. Luckily I was able to stay with a friend and I didn't have to be the 12th person to squeeze into that hotel room!

green box design brief


Project Title: Mastering Mehndi

Describe the challenge:
The challenge for this project was to start with a wooden box and create some sort of product that incorporated the box using a “green design� approach. The idea was to tie the product with an eco-friendly theme by using as much eco-friendly or recycled material as possible.

Describe your creative process:
It took me quite a while to come up with an idea that I really liked. I headed in several different directions, such as a pill organizer for the earth and an animal adoption kit, before I decided on a mehndi kit. I found some very good informational websites for mehndi and ordered a kit from Earth Henna as a starting point. I shopped around for recycled papers and materials that I could include in the kit. I also did some list making for what would be included in the kit and some sketches of henna patterns and design ideas for the box exterior.

Describe your solution:
The kit I created, called Mastering Mehndi, is a complete kit for understanding and practicing the art of mehndi. I used the main products that came in the actual kit I bought, but I made up my own company and redesigned everything to make it original. It is sort of a starter kit for those who don’t know much about the art form. The kit has the supplies for making and applying the henna, as well as an informational booklet. I created my own designs for the logo, the booklet, and the stencils. I included both beginner and advanced stencils, in case the user feels they need more of a challenge. The bottles I received in the actual kit I bought were too large to fit in the box so I had to buy new ones and re-label them. The kit would have been more eco-friendly if I could have included the reusable squeeze bottle applicator, but I had to buy plastic cones instead to fit in the box. For the typography, I chose Bernhard Modern Std for the display face, and Optima for the body text. I thought Bernhard Modern had an elegant and somewhat middle-eastern look to it. I also thought the serifs looked sort of scripty, as if they could have been hand-done with henna. Optima was a nice contrast, but still had a formal look.

List the box contents + design elements:
~ Plastic cone filled with henna powder
~ Henna solution in glass bottle: new label design
~ Eucalyptus oil in glass bottle: new label design
~ 3 plastic application cones
~ Reusable stencils: my own designs- hand drawn, scanned and live-traced
~ Cotton swabs
~ Toothpicks
~ Rubber bands
~ Booklet: logo, mehndi/henna history and facts, instructions, and tips
~ Packaging: tag with logo

Outline the green design features:
~ Henna powder itself is a natural product which comes from the henna plant, so the art of mehndi is a safe and eco-friendly practice.
~ The henna paste can be used for tattooing for up to 4 weeks, so the materials are not quickly being used and disposed of.
~ The box has limited packaging so that limited waste is produced.
~ The decorative pattern on the exterior of the box was done by wood-burning; no harmful paints or chemicals were used.
~ Limited exterior packaging and decoration make the box easily reusable.
~ The paper is recycled and is made up of 30% post consumer material.
~ The stencils are reusable up to six times.
~ The plastic cones can be rinsed and reused.
~ The glass bottles can be reused or recycled.

List specific eco-friendly materials used in this project:
~ Henna powder, solution, and oil – Earth Henna Body Painting Kit - $14.95 + shipping
~ Professional Series Astroparche paper - Wausau Paper brand – Office Max - $7