For Thinking Tree Spirits, our goal was to create an interactive packaging experience with the playful exuberance of storybooks and Rococo scrollwork, all evocative of the lush bounty of Oregon.
We designed the Thinking Tree brandmark for flexibility, personifying the brand as a contemplative woman collared and crowned with ornamental branches that either gently germinate or grow wild to fill the canvas, be it the small circular icon on the cap, or front and centre on the hangtag.
For the illustrations, we were inspired by Late Baroque mirrors to create highly dimensional packaging, using the main label for deep background artwork, and layering over it a hangtag of duplexed cardstock with a pop of purple foil and, finally, a colourful ornate frame raised to its highest relief with sculptured embossment. Hidden throughout are local and mythological life, from Odin’s ravens (‘thought’ and ‘memory’), to the polyphemus moth (whose eyespots are named after Homer’s cyclops) and its caterpillars, down to the great horned owl, whose face is composed of oak leaves.
On the hangtag’s verso, the linework is reproduced by a letterpress, whose raised ink, along with the purple string that ties tag to neck, all add to the rich tactile experience. Here, one is invited to be creative, whether scribbling thoughts or verse, notes on a new infusion, or a kind gift-letter to a friend.
Beneath the hangtag is a fable of our composition that sets down the brand’s folktale roots:
Once, there was a forester who planted a seed in the earth. When the seed grew into a great tree, the forester placed an egg at the top of the highest branch. When the egg hatched into a great owl, the forester returned with gifts. “I have the gift of speech,” said the forester, “and the gift of thought.” The tree and the owl listened. “I can give only one gift each, and each gift only once,” the forester said. “First, one of you will receive the gift of speech.” Growing impatient, the owl asked “who?” And the Thinking Tree shook her leaves knowingly.
Italian Decorated Parade Armour of King Philip III of Spain from 1585 on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London
From top to bottom, the Burgonet, breastplate and gauntlets comes from a a series presented to the Spanish royal family in the 1580′s. Tailor-made parade armour was iron clothing: the pointed ‘peascod’ breastplate imitated fashionable doublets. Draped with fine silk sashes and with helmets sprouting plumes of ostrich feathers. Such armour was for effect and display rather than protection in battle. Inspired by ancient Roman armour it transformed Renaissance nobles into classical heroes.
Ornate Brooch excavated at Hunterston in Scotland from the Mid 8th Century CE on display at the National Museums of Scotland in Edinburgh
It is thought to have been made at a Royal Site such as Dunadd, the Hillfort metioned in the Annals of Ulster and supposedly the capital of the Kingdom of the Dál Riata. The skill of the jeweller can be seen in the familiarity of the use of Anglo-Saxon, Irish and Irish-Scottish techniques in decorating the metalwork of silver and gold with amber and other precious metals.
It was most likely a gift from one ruler to another either as a sign of friendship or of peace perhaps. It is a sign of not only material culture being used to symbolise status and rank but also the importance of trained and skilled manufacturers in society.