Creating an unboxing experience that tells a story about a special object.
About The Project
Grizzly tells the story of my Grizzly Bear Enamel Pin that held memories of adventures and travels from one of my trips to South Lake Tahoe. By translating the story into a physical box, I created an unboxing experience that connects the user to the object.
The project focused on prototyping with a given emphasis on using affordances and signifiers to create a meaningful, pleasurable and guided user experience throughout the unboxing process.
DATE Fall 2017, 2 Weeks
TOOLS Illustrator, Rapid Prototyping
FIELD Interaction Design, Prototype
Seeing as nature was the focal setting of my object's story, I gathered images that pertained to it and searched similar styles of the artist who created the pin herself.
Sha'an d'Anthes, the maker and artist behind my special object, had a knack for whimsical and dreamy illustrations and I wanted to convey that on my box. I pinned one of her illustration, Grizzly Bear, on my moodboard to serve as an inspiration which guided my final design.
The story I wanted my box to revolve around was the idea of exploration and nature. It conveys the memories of a summer hike with my brother and his friends at South Lake Tahoe. It was a weekend full of adventure, laughter and being in the presence of loved ones, while connecting with nature. It was an epitome of being present in the moment.
I created isometric sketches of my object to create a prototype with precise dimensions. This was an important process because it determined how smoothly my box assembly would go once I make the final piece.
The challenges that I faced were creating the flow of the story to convey on the box and executing the structure of my box, especially around the “flower shape”. I had a difficult time figuring out how I will set off the journey of the Unboxing Experience once the model is in the hands of the user, as well as working around the “petals” of the “flower box” and have something hold it together in a way that it will fall dramatically once the cover was lifted.
I originally planned to make a rotating box that would show the story on each panel as opposed to having it on the inside. That prototype failed due to wrong measurements. The structure or shape of the box didn't support this idea as well, since I went for a hexagonal base. Despite all the difficulties and challenges, I personally believed that everything else worked. Making alternate changes to putting the illustrations on the inside panel as opposed to making it a rotating box worked really well. I also believe that adding another layer to the story by creating a secondary box inside to hold the pin made a more meaningful impact and experience for my project.
Rapid Prototyping Layout Plan
After I sketched my concept and did a rough paper prototype of the box, I proceeded to do a flat layout on Illustrator so that I can transfer the file for my lasercut. I wanted my cuts to be precise which is why I opted to use the Rapid Prototyping Tool.
I set off the atmosphere of the experience by having the box reveal a single window of a story to convey the beginning of the journey. Once lifting the cover, the box inside opens like a flower which mimics the flow of the story in which it was set.
Adding a step further, another box sits on the center. It opens to reveal the highlight of the experience, which is the Grizzly Bear Enamel Pin. The words “Home Is Where The Heart Is” is written on one of the panels of the innermost box to convey that home is a symbol of a place where it holds special memories of the people that I love and the things that I find comfort in.
This project taught me the value of planning, thinking things through and paying attention to details. Physical Prototyping requires creating a lot of plans and sketches since it is a crucial process when it comes to assembling the parts; if one doesn't fit, the whole plan requires changing and that could be infuriating. I learned to be precise and to test the usability of my prototype by creating rough ones and seeing if it works first before moving on to my final.
If I had more time, I would still try to see if I can work something out about the rotating box and having some sort of story be shown through this iteration. I think it would add a more interesting experience to the overall project. I would also try to figure out a way to make the flower box more held together in such a way that it would hold when the slits are put together and its closed without a cover but also get it to open dramatically in one pull.