DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
WM : The concept of FLOAT. is defined by its accompanying tagline, “Life imitates art.” It is a taken from Oscar Wilde’s statement in his essay The Decay of Lying: "Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life". It communicates my idea that, through an aesthetically pleasing item, I can transfer positive qualities that can help people to view life more positively as a whole, or just simply make a day better.
The simple soap bubble is my main inspiration because it represents simple enjoyment and fun. The spectrum of colours revealed on its iridescent surface appears magical and sparks wonder in both children and adults. There’s a saying ‘in your own bubble’, which means being in one’s own world, and bath time is a personal time as well as a nice break from life to be in our own bubble. Bubbles’ airy and light qualities seem to lift the moods up of those who watch them, plus the way they float in the air and pop can be a catharsis for whatever that is weighing us down.
DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
WM : As it is a self-initiated project, my main focus is firstly to explore different visual stylistic execution, as well as to create a brand that is relevant in the digital landscape. I also wanted to explore ways in packaging a product that involves minimal paper wastage.
DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
WM : I would love to be able to expand this concept into an actual brand and product in the market.
DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
WM : It took around 3 to 4 months.
DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
WM : During a trip to Korea, I was particularly inspired by how a local soapmaker designed and marketed her products. Thus, I decided to embark on a self-initiated brief to exercise my conceptual and visual execution skills.
DI: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?
WM : Currently, I hope to produce and expand this work by myself in the future.
DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
WM : I have always been fascinated by various handmade soap designs since young, and I thought that it is a good example of how art and functionality can come together as one. During a trip to South Korea, I came across a brand called ‘Hanahzo’, which showed me a whole new level of artistic soap design and its possibilities. I became even more interested to try soap making after that.
DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
WM : The South Korean soap brand 'Hanahzo' is the main inspiration for my work. Other than that, I looked into Memphis Style designs, which is quite trendy in the beauty landscape at the moment.
DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
WM : Millennials are the target customer for this design, particularly working adults ranging between 20 – 35 years old.
DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
WM : In my opinion, a lot of soap brands revolve around sustainability and eco-friendliness, so much of the look and feel is centred around being natural or raw. This design of mine still incorporates the idea of sustainability particularly through its packaging, but bold colour usage and deliberate patterns are applied.
DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
WM : There was a struggle with naming the project initially, I wondered if I should give it a quirky title, but eventually settled with something simple, straight-forward, but yet flexible enough to incorporate many meanings: Firstly, it refers to how the soap bubbles float in the air; secondly, it means to lift one’s spirits or mood up; lastly, it also describes the action of letting stress or any negative emotions ‘float’ away. I find that this light-hearted and free-flowing word embodies the concept of the project well.
DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
WM : On the software side, I used Adobe Creative Suite, Photoshop and Illustrator, to work on branding, packaging, and mockups. There is a motion graphics and web design component to the project, in which After Effects and Sketch is utilised.
On the packaging side, I used paper, clear stickers, plastic transparency, and cling wrap.
To make the soap, I used melt and pour soap base, mica powder colourants, and essential oils.
DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
WM : It would be how the packaging is made up of 1 sheet of paper to minimise wastage.
DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
WM : Other than garnering feedback from my peers on the concept and possible design directions, this work is completely self-produced.
DI: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
WM : I did research on millennials and their characteristics to derive to a concept that would best appeal to their sensibilities. My research led me to conclude that they are likely stressed out, yet are the group that searches for meaning the most, thus leading me to conclude that my concept and product should be one that helps them to relax and is one that is not just purely sold on aesthetics but rather embody a certain meaning.
DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
WM : Working on the packaging was pretty challenging since I did not want to fall back to the usual methods of packaging items such as just having a nice graphic on the ubiquitous box. There were a few requirements I set for myself: one, it needs to showcase the product; two, it needs to take into account the ease of mass production even though it is merely a concept now; and three, to use another way to make a box rather than fall back to the usual pattern. Finding the common ground for these three requirements was the challenge. So I read a few packaging design books and studied unique packaging that I collected, then made a bunch of mock-ups and experimented with a lot of different patterns before coming up with the final box.
DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
WM : I had a strong feel for this project and thought that it would be good to have its standard assessed in an international design competition setting to know where I stand.
DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
WM : I learnt the value of experimentation and creative exploration in this work. Creating soap was a fun process, but also one that required much trial and error as well as problem-solving to craft what I had in mind.