How do you market a product that is viewed as a commodity in most parts of the world? Taipei-based Green in Hand sought to elevate the perceived value of rice grown locally in Eastern Taiwan by presenting it in stylish, contemporary packaging. Touting its brand as a “life style proposal of exquisite agriculture,” Green in Hand packaged its organic rice in an earthy plain brown paper bag with a natural twisted twine handle and hand-drawn calligraphy label to create a simple and sustainable look.
Colorful gift packaging reinforced Green in Hand’s message that it “provides service for those who care about the relationship between human and land.” The floral design looks pretty enough to be a ladies’ handbag. The packaging program won both the Red Dot and Hong Kong Design Council awards.
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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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