This box is for good

Ton connected me with Peter earlier this year, because Peter was planning trips to European letterpress printing studios. You bet that Grafisch Atelier Hilversum wanted to be a stop along that route!

The project: This Box is for Good. The idea: custom print a series of small cardboard boxes each month. Fill them with small gifts and pass them on to friends, acquintances, passers-by. Those who receive a box get to keep its contents and are requested to fill the box anew and give it away once more. Receivers become givers. Practicing generosity. An exercise in giving and passing nice things on.

Peter, Lisa, Lali and I collaborated on the design and production of a new series of boxes over the course of two days. On the first day we explored some possible techniques, developed the idea and executed a first print run. We tested monoprinting but decided to not use this technique. The rather coarse-fibred cardboard is very absorbant and thus left no room for the subtle details of monoprints.

And so the focus shifted entirely to that other specialty of the house: LEGO letterpress. Lali introduced the idea of lupines (the flowers) and designed a few versions of those. This became the main motif for the boxes. A patterned band wrapped around the box provided a base for the flowers to take root in.

On day two we printed the remaining print runs. We used the same designs and printed them in different colors to create multiple sub-series within the collection as a whole.

Typical for printing: stuff needs to dry, so there’s always one more moment that follows after all the printing is done. A final design intervention got added: we punched a few holes in each box. Then each box got its unique number and was glued back together again. Everybody who receives a box can register it at the website so that the journey of each box can be tracked.

The result: forty-ish boxes, all printed using the same motifs but with variations in color and composition. A few stayed in the studio to be distributed from there. Peter, Lisa and Lali took the rest with them, en route to their next creative stop in Italy.

Such a beautiful, small yet grand project. Very cool to have been a part of it. Peter wrote up his report here.

Thank you Peter, Lisa and Lali!