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Project 1: Three Dimensional Graphic Design | 'The Third Dimension' Packaging Design

Brief Our first project involved us having to identify a product that's currently packaged and distributed using unnecessary single use plastic or mixed materials and design a new packaging solution using 100% carton board or corrugated board. Both the structure of the pack and the surface graphics had to be considered.

Research I began first by exploring a range of different 3D forms to see what different materials could do and also help inspire a product to package. I started off using plain paper to practice folding and construction techniques and then moved onto using a more sturdy material than could possibly be laser cut.

After careful consideration, I settled on my product; ear-bud headphones.

I chose this product because they are very often covered in unnecessary plastic which is not only bad for the environment but also makes it very difficult to get into without damaging the wires inside. I decided I wanted to try and design a box that was just as aesthetically pleasing and still protected the product.

Initial Ideas

I started drawing up some concepts for the box, wanting it to still be easy enough to hang on shelfs and be displayed easily. I explored designs that were a little more dynamic with their shape to begin with but eventually thought I would be able to make better use of the space inside if the box remained a more simple shape.


I finally settled on an idea for the box which was to create a slide-out matchbox with an outer cover packaging that would contain all the surface graphics and keep the box more secure whilst displayed. I also explored how to place the headphones themselves inside the box as I didn't want them to be loose. I thought about using layered corrugated card and laser cutting out the shape of the ear pieces and wire but was struggling with the shapes.

Through more research I then came across a concept were people were cutting up old credit cards to wrap their headphones around in order to stop the wires from becoming tangled whilst travelling.

Mock Ups​

I then began making some 3D mock ups of my design, first just with plain paper and then I experimented a little with the corrugated cardboard. I struggled quite a bit with figuring out how big the box should be so that was a bit of trial and error. I wanted it to be as compact as possible so that the matchbox could also be reused to store the headphones in instead of being thrown away.

Here I did try to create the cut outs for the inside packaging by hand using the thicker brown card which was a lot easier to work with, but the shapes of the headphones were just too tedious. As a result I went with the other design instead inspired by the credit card trick and experimented with a few different shapes for the headphones to wrap around as securely as I could with it being a less study material.

Further Development

After deciding on what size the box should be I began creating the final net and its dimensions. I used a matchbox template from a website called Template Maker as a guide to drawing out my own net. The final net I drew straight onto the brown card so the scans are not as clear as I would have liked them to be.

Surface Graphics Development

​Initially I had the idea of adding a pattern to the matchbox so the buyer would be encouraged to reuse it but I wasn't sure how I was going to transfer the design to the card as I couldn't print directly onto it, and I also quite liked the minimalistic look of the cardboard anyway.

I then moved on to focus more on the surface graphics for the sleeve instead, still keeping to a minimal design. I chose to include an image of the headphones I drew in Procreate to make up for the fact you cant see the product through any plastic.

I created the final surface graphics using Adobe Illustrator, drawing out the net of the sleeve in the correct dimensions. I used the barcode and other symbols from the vector resources folder we were provided. I kept it modern looking by using purely sans-serif typefaces, with a simple black and white colour scheme so that it would appeal to a wider range of customers.

I also created a little logo for the packaging, using a vector from this website, as well as a little card to go inside the box so it looked more professional.

​You can see the process below:

Final Piece

After I had finished designing the surface graphics it was time to combine them with the 3D pack itself. I used spray mount to stick the labels onto the nets.

Below you can see the unfolded net of my packaging solution as well as images of the 3D folded dummy version at various angles and containing the product.



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