Woop woop another blog from Boxcitement: monthly UK subscription boxes

How does an idea become reality?

Hello New Year, and hello to all our lovely blog readers – let’s get this year off to a great start shall we?!

At the beginning of January, our little creative team sat down to come up with ideas for the next twelve months of Boxcitement boxes – yes you read that correctly, a whole year of boxes to fill up with unique, quirky, never-seen-before themes and designs. No mean feat when you consider that each of our monthly boxes includes 6-8 gifts, all exclusive to Boxcitement and all designed and created just for us. Let’s just say it was a long meeting…

It made me have a think about how our creative ideas become reality – it’s quite a fascinating process which often begins with a scrap of paper or a play on a computer and ends when our goodies are delivered from the manufacturers. All our design is managed in-house but we work with a hugely talented bunch of makers who can help us turn a drawing into anything from an enamel pin badge, or a wooden phone stand, to a fluffy pencil case…

So back to that meeting… after deciding on basic themes and designs, we began to create a series of samples and prototypes to try and decide which items to progress this year. We have been working with fabrics, plastics, wood, enamel, mirrored glass and felted wool to name a few – and each and every one requires a different approach to design. We have learned that details don’t work well on felt because of the texture, and that drilling holes into plastic can make it very fragile – and as we send our gifts through the post that was not particularly good news! Designs often develop, change and sometimes get completely altered once we work with our manufacturers as they have detailed knowledge of the materials they work with – and our tight deadlines sometimes need to be extended too when items need to dry!

Most of our makers require a set of vector drawings of our designs in order to bring them to life – two dimensional plans based on lines, circles and polygons that can be scaled to any size and understood by the computer programmes they use. For example a laser cutter or a screen printer will require an exact drawing telling their machine how thick to cut a line, what colour ink to apply and where to fold a page. It’s all pretty technical and requires detailed knowledge of vector software – if one element is programmed incorrectly the whole project can fail so it’s really important to get these drawings right! As you can see from these pictures, at this stage the drawings bear very little resemblance to the items they end up being, but it is here where the magic begins…

As a designer with many years working in print, I have had lots of experience in creating real things from ideas but it’s still easy to get caught out now and again! I bet you didn’t know that the colour orange is notoriously difficult to reproduce in print without using specialist inks, or that a laser cutting machine will pulverise a tiny amount of the material it is cutting through and you have to adjust the thickness of the lines to allow for that? Each project comes with its own challenges and it’s endlessly fascinating to learn how to work with different materials.

Some of the projects we have created in the past for our subscribers include a fish pin who came packaged in his own bowl, a ‘flat-pack’ jewellery stand which once constructed featured a rather cute sloth, and some fluorescent orange notecards made on a timeless letterpress printer. We love coming up with unusual and quirky gifts you won’t find anywhere else – and we have some amazing ones lined up for upcoming months, in case you were wondering!

Did you enjoy this little insight into behind-the-scenes Boxcitement? Remember, if you aren’t yet a subscriber to our lovely monthly boxes you can join us any time – and I hope we’ll be sending you some of our newest gifts very soon!

Stay happy - Deb

(P.S. I'd love to know what you think - leave your comment below!)