Li Xi Envelopes: Asian Tradition with Western Flair





In the interest of christmas, which is right around the corner, I offer this bit of traditional familiarity (I have subcontinent asian in me), and I introduce to you a design team from the US. These cards are reminiscent of when I was a child, and instead of getting presents at all events, I would get money. I think it's more an Asian trend than an American trend, but I'm not sure. Anyway, these cards remind me of the delicate rice paper envelopes and enclosures that the money would come in. In fact the curly di-cuts and "handy" work somehow trigger memories of old indian ladies writing, in Hindi, the amount outside of the envelope. This can lead me to entirely other blog posting, the design of languages as form not content. Maybe tomorrow.

What are we losing in this product, in this design? What is the western flair? It is, of course, the birth of Henry Ford. Ok, what I mean is, mass production. You see, the most beautiful aspect of the traditional asian envelopes is the fact that you know that it is hand made. It smells of sweat, uniqueness, and authenticity. These envelopes smell of burns from the laser that cut them. There is something great to be said about authenticity and handy craft. The sheer nature of receiving a gift enveloped in something that took such intense concentration, planning, and experience to create provides incentive for the receiver to hold on to the envelope, even display it on their desks and bookshelves for years to come. EVEN, admit to using it to re-gift to another! What about when you can order them online, and have them delivered in less than 24 hours? What about when they are cut with the precision afforded only by the technologies of our creation and not by the creative and skilled minds from the traditional roots from which they come? It looses its uniqueness and its authenticity, it becomes something merely as a vessel for distribution, no more valuable than the toilet tissue that sits in your restrooms.

I add that these are an asian creation (ha!), because the couple who designed them and are marketing them on their website are asian themselves, and you can find out about them by clicking on the title of this blog. I think it is really cute that they are a couple and collaborate on their projects. A harmonious system of production, at least I hope so.

Aesthetically, these envelopes are wonderful for giving to others. The rear of the envelopes have a beautifully crafted intricate pattern that is appeasing through its symmetrical nature. The texture and colors of the envelope hint at a more sophisticated form of presentation, helping lend a sense of intent when used as a gift. The face of the envelope uses the familiar patterns from the rear to draw the environment in which the story of the pig (or dolphin?) kissing the flower takes place.

Listening to Portishead

1 comment:

Andrew said...

I think you can say that mass production destroys things up to a certain point, but can it really destroy all the beauty of a thing? I'll agree that hand-made authenticity does have a certain charm to it, but at the same time the object itself must also inherently contain some beauty itself, n'est pas?

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