Initially started as an idea for a public anthology, I've recently stumbled into designing potential merchandise based off the zodiac.
Starting off with a prospective plushie design based off boars in the shape of steamed buns for the Year of the Boar- literal pork buns ;). The below image is actually my third set of designs- it was surprisingly difficult to make a pig look distinct and yet remain cute; they got rounder and rounder! Wasn't happy with the design until the idea of making them look like dumplings- where the ears forming the crimps of the steamed buns gave a distinguishing feature.
From the beginning, I had planned on having 8 different color options as I wanted to create super indulgent hypothetical packaging in the form of a paper bamboo steamer. Color variations were thus based off other known steamed bun fillings.
Ultimately I cut down to 4 colors to start as production costs were higher than I expected and would have been unwise to invest in an idea that might not sell. I held an incredibly rudimentary vote via social media to see which colors were most popular and went with top 3 in addition to the original color.
Unfortunately due to the limitations of Pantone swatches, final colors differed slightly from initial design.
Sent off final color design sheets a few days ago, so I'm currently holding out for a prototype :).
As for packaging... did I say hypothetical?
I spent 2 days that I probably shouldn't have creating a proof of concept prototype :'). Constructed entirely out of chipboard and paper, I wanted to use the idea behind soda cup lids to create packaging that didn't rely on plastic molding and so was entirely recyclable. Albeit, being handmade and relying purely on layering to keep a solid structure, the box was a lot heavier and bulkier than ideal.