Some of us remember the time when our Japanese grandmothers would give us bite-size pieces of hard candy that we could pop in our mouths wrappers and all. The translucent “tissue” would easily dissolve because it was made out of rice paper. Back then, it was a delightful novelty, but now it may be a solution for the mountains of packaging waste produced by fast-food chains. In Hong Kong, KFC is offering chicken sandwiches wrapped in edible rice paper and printed with edible ink. It makes sense. It cuts down on litter. It’s a tidy way to eat fried chicken without dropping greasy crumbs all over. And it is still “finger lickin’ good.”
Designed by Ogilvy & Mather Group Hong Kong, the edible wrapper was created to pair with KFC’s bunless Double Down sandwich, which features two pieces of fried chicken in place of bread. If you eat every last bite, you are responsibly contributing to the Zero Waste Movement.
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What better way to showcase the newly released Eames Century Modern font collection than to print each letterform on a Mid-Century Modern LTR (Low Table Rod) table designed by Charles Eames? A collaboration between type designer House Industries and Herman Miller Japan, the Eames alphabet table is a limited edition series of 80 tables adorned with A to Z letters, numbers and ornaments from the Eames Century Modern font. House hand-printed each tabletop at its Grand Rapids, Michigan, factory and then returned the tops to Herman Miller for attachment onto the metal rod base and packaging in a special House-designed wooden crate. House owner Andy Cruz says, “As with most House Industries projects, I tried my best to make the packaging for this limited edition something you wouldn’t throw away once the table was removed. Who doesn’t like a printed wooden crate that can do double duty as a storage container?” Good point.
Now for the bad news. The custom Eames LTR tables are probably sold out by now, since only 80 tables were made in total. Forty were offered at the Herman Miller Reach Exhibition in Hong Kong in September and the other 40 at the HM Tokyo Showroom in October. If there are any leftover crates, I’d be willing to settle for one of them.
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These posters won both the Grand Prix for Design in Cannes and the A&AD design awards in 2009. Asked by Nike to create a call-for-entry poster for the Nike Basketball League Competition, Hong Kong’s most prestigious basketball league, McCann Worldgroup turned the poster itself into a spirited competition. McCann selected images of the top 10 players in action to create printing templates and then invited the players to a silkscreen shop in Hong Kong to print their own image randomly on top of one another. The process of overprinting became a battlefield in itself, and the 350 posters made by the team players became one of the hottest Nike collectibles around.
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Editor’s Note: The global marketplace is real. Some brands are as familiar to consumers in Rio de Janeiro and London as they are to shoppers in New York City and Mumbai. That does not mean that the world now speaks a common design language nor approaches design in a universal way. What resonates in one culture may be rejected as odd, irrelevant or ignorantly offensive in another. In some cases, consumers may find the product appropriate, but the sales pitch tone-deaf and riddled with cultural clichés. Designers working across cultures confront the challenge of understanding differences in business and social customs, technologies, and typical design assignments as well as aesthetic preferences.
In the interest of broadening our knowledge, we are launching a “foreign correspondents” feature, beginning with our dear friends, Anita Luu and Sing Lin, two American designers who opened their Affiche International Asia office in Shanghai two years ago. An innocent question about the availability of Chinese typefaces led to a fascinating discussion, which is presented here.
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