Connected, the film box

    A recent KQED fundraising evening was devoted to the televisision premiere of Tiffany Shlain’s film, “Connected: An Autobogography about Love, Death and Technology.” At every fundraising break, we got to admire the limited edition “Home Discusssion Kit”, a packaging project which took us nearly two years to complete.

    One of Tiffany’s previous projects, “The Tribe”, was packaged in a box constructed with full color offset litho laminated to board, secured with a magnetic flap. It held the DVD, a booklet and a set of “conversation cards” to facilitate discussion in both educational and private settings. The box and components were produced and assembled in China. For “Connected” Tiffany wanted a similar solution, but produced domestically and made with Eco friendly materials as much as possible.

    The first edition was produced under tight time constraints to be ready in time for the film’s debut at The Sundance Film Festival. It was similar to the final product, but featured an additional flap closure secured with Velcro buttons. The closure didn’t work perfectly — the board was too heavy, and the flap too small, to make the turn and stay flat.

    The flap problem was solved with the idea of using an embedded elastic closure, similar to a Moleskine journal. The implementation was tricky because we were avoiding the most toxic adhesives, which are also the strongest, to maintain a “greener” end product. As a result, it took some effort to get a solid glue edge where the back board met the tray so the elastic would not fall into that space when the package was opened. Meanwhile, the box graphics were being revised. The screened cover art was near-perfect from the first edition, but the back text was a moving target.

    Weeks and months went by. New prototypes were made, graphics revised, another short run was produced for an event. The booklets were complete, the conversation cards printed and collated. Finally, we reached a version which was approved for the final production run of 5000 units. But it wasn’t over yet. Again, we were running up against challenges with the Eco-friendly adhesive, this time about twenty percent of the boxes were experiencing a failure at the spine so we had all the boxes re-glued.

    At last, it was done. A full two years and some months after we began, the “Connected” limited edition kit, your gift with a $120 membership to KQED.