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Chinese New Year is a traditional festival dating back to over 3,800 years in the Shang Dynasty. Celebrating the festival, wishes of luck are greeted between loved ones. Red packets is an essential part of this tradition, where tokens of care, such as money, chocolates or gold coins are shared.
In today’s culture where old traditions are often swept away by the new, the red pockets are designed to rediscover the cultural value of this festival. Taking fragments of history and revamping them anew, we marry together the past and the future, keeping the tradition alive in generations to come.
The red packets designs should respect the long standing history and culture of Chinese New Year, whilst reinventing its mood and topics. Merging the old and the new, the traditional greetings should be reimagined in contemporary ways. The design should make this festival more relevant to the younger generations, to evoke a mood of festivity whilst celebrating traditional roots.
The design concept stems from the traditional Chinese belief that “Great things come in pairs” (好事成雙), hence in the gift box are 2 stacks of red packets, corresponding to the duality of Couplets (春聯). Each stack contains 5 common greetings illustrated in modern ways. All greetings are written in the ancient 'stamp' arrangement, where 4 characters are read from top right, to bottom right, to top left, to bottom left, surrounded by a border as one would find in traditional Chinese stamps.
- CoverGreeting: 新年快樂Pinyin: XinNianKuaiLeLiterally translated to “Happy New Year”, it is the most common and widely applicable greeting to use for the cover.
- Flower Greeting: 花開富貴 Pinyin: HuaKaiFuGui This is a greeting for blooming prosperity, and the first word of the greeting is 花 Flower. A flourishing branch of cherry blossom, one of the most auspicious flowers in Chinese New Year, is used here to represent this lucky concept.
- Tangerine Greeting: 大吉大利 Pinyin: DaJiDaLiIn this greeting, the Second word, 吉 (Ji) have two interpretations/puns. It can mean Tangerines or Luck. Here created is a tangerine of luck to wish smoothness without a hitch.
- DogGreeting: 狗年吉祥Pinyin: GouNianJiXiangThis is a greeting specific for this year as it is the year of the Dog - an animal in Chinese zodiac known for its optimism and loyalty, here depicted in abstract, artful and playful shapes.
- House Greeting: 金銀滿屋 Pinyin: JinYinManWu This is a greeting of beautiful and prosperous home life. The greeting literally means "gold and silver filling up the house". To illustrate this, gold and silver foil fill the windows to the brim, as an expression of plentiful fortune.
- Fish Greeting: 年年有餘 Pinyin: NianNianYouYuIn this greeting, the last character, 餘 Yu, has the same pronunciation as Fish. Fish is a common symbol of luck in Chinese beliefs, illustrated here in a flowing and lively manner to represent this lucky greeting, translating to "Luck In Every Year".
To align the design with Chinese culture, special attention is paid to the structure and materials of the box: The box opens from left to right, which is a traditional format borrowed from historic Chinese books orientation; while box proportions are directly taken from historic books size. The paper in the design is inspired by Cai Lun’s (50-121AC) traditional papermaking using rags and fibres - here is a corresponding linen fabric woven with history.
The red pocket designs were released on 3 February, 2018. Target audience included past, current and prospective clients, collaboration partners, marketing executives of global and local conglomerates. The designs were distributed worldwide and purchased through wechat and word of mouth. A total of 2000 copies were produced, all were distributed within 3 days of release.