Japanese design is often focused on adding engaging design to unexpected places, subtly nudging the audience to look twice at everyday objects from erasers to lunch boxes. Designer Yu Aso has placed this idea into one of the most common packaging elements—rubber bands.
Aso has reimagined rubber bands with a mizuhiki twist, a Japanese art form using cords tied with decorative knots. The most common of these is the shoelace knot, which he has effortlessly worked into a rubber band that is appropriately named the mizuhikiband. The band was was originally created as part of the 2013 Kokuyo Design Awards with the theme of “happy x design,” but has since gone through two years of revisions to refine the design and make the product more foreigner-friendly.
It was also important to Aso that the band have a sense of repetition in its design, encouraging users to use the product over and over again to secure a variety of gifts.
Mizuhikibands will be available in four different colors and packaged in groups of 7 beginning in early October. (via Spoon & Tamago)
Update: Mizuhikibands are now available in the U.S. through the Spoon & Tamago Shop.
Earlier this year Tokyo and Milan-based design firm Nendo (previously) accepted the challenge of redesigning the rubber band, one of the most common desktop items that seems so ubiquitous that it’s disposable. After all, the cost of a few hundred more is just a few bucks. But what if a rubber band was interesting, functional, and you didn’t want to throw it away. This was the idea behind Nendo’s cubic rubber band, a completely different form factor resulting in a desktop object that isn’t meant to be stashed away in a drawer or tossed in the trash. A set of three retails for 1080 yen (about $10), though you’ll need to be able to navigate a Japanese retailer, Marks, to snap up a set. (via Spoon & Tamago)
The SÖHKA Lamp is the latest creation from French designer Malet Thibaut (previously). The light is composed of five wooden pieces and 60 rubber bands that can be assembled in practically unlimited configurations to create different lighting patterns for maximum geometric shadow fun. The SÖHKA Lamp will be available for purchase via his website in the near future.
Given the design brief, “go into a pound shop and pick a seemingly uninteresting object and rebrand it, increasing the value and interest,” graphic design student Ric Bixter selected elastic bands and created this absolutely killer packaging solution. The stronger the band, the more the box appears to be squeezed. I’d grab a box of these over any other. Nice work Ric. (via lovely package, david airey)
Design student Jenny Kyvik Hutchens designed this elastic font as part of an assignment while at Westerdals School of Communication in Oslo. It was first made by hand in a grid system, and then vectorized into a snazzy print. (via typography served)
I’m a sucker for physical type, and this project is no exception. Design student Erik Berger made this fun typeface out of a pound of rubber bands. (via typegoodness)