Playing with the box it came in: design, all the way through

We get excited about great, powerful design here at NOW, and this is an example.

If you speak to groups, then you should probably know about Garr Reynolds, whose book Presentation Zen has saved countless audiences from terrible presentations. Focusing on both speeches and visuals, Reynolds advocates a design aesthetic rooted in principles that owe as much to Japanese culture as to Zen itself.

A few years ago, he brought out a DVD with an accompanying sketchbook, packaged as The Presentation Zen Way. And while the content is terrific, the package itself is arresting in its beauty.

This is the box it comes in:

The Presentation Zen Way: box

And this is what you see when you open it:

The Presentation Zen Way: interior

It’s a bento box! With pencils for chopsticks! And Post-Its that evoke pickled ginger!

The “wow” factor is immense (and the photos can’t do justice to the actual package). But the impact lies in the way the brand has carried all the way through from content to the little envelope the pencils come in. Every interaction with the packaging reinforces Reynolds’ message of simplicity and grace… and reminds the viewer of the principles behind it.

Kids are famous for tossing the expensive present aside and playing with the box it came in. That won’t happen with this; Reynolds’ presentation advice is too valuable to let it gather dust.

But for us, this is a reminder of why it’s worth going to such lengths to make thoughtful, effective design permeate every aspect of our communications. Whether we’re promoting principles for effective speaking or policies for social justice, every interaction with our audience is a chance to reinforce our message, and design — great design — helps make that happen.

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