The Packaging Designer’s Book of Patterns, 2nd edition, Lászlo Roth and George L. Wybenga. John Wiley & Sons, 2000. 0471385042.
Folding Patterns for Display and Publicity, drawings by Laurence K. Withers. The Pepin Press/Agile Rabbit Editions, 2002. 9057680408.
Sarah: I looked up the addresses and hours… (thumps book on table)
Gene: You scared my cat!
S: I looked up the addresses and hours of all of the Powell’s Books locations in Portland recently and I probably knew but had forgotten that they had closed Powell’s Technical Books.
G: That was across the street from the big bookstore?
S: Yeah, it was all of their… not just computer stuff, but technical books in every field. If you need super-technical books about constructing drainage systems, they had those. Super specialized books in every field.
G: Do they have those books in the main bookstore now?
S: I believe so. Powell’s Technical is where I picked up this first book, The Packaging Designer’s Book of Patterns.
S: I thought you’d really like it.
G: Oh my god!
S: Because it’s about how to die cut, where to fold, where to glue to make all of these different possible paper and cardboard packages. From really simple stuff, like a cereal box, to one that looks like a cathedral. You can make a box look like a specific famous building if you want to sell a souvenir whatever. This is aimed at people who are designing packaging and need some ideas.
G: You paid $65 for this???
S: I did! Because it’s so nerdy and it made me so happy.
G: Wow, there’s a section on trays. It’s not just patterns of how to cut them out, but it’s an overview of what the patterns would have to look like, with folding lines…
S: And the dots represent the glue. They’ve got the names of the containers along the top, which are wonderfully technical, and sometimes there’s a comment along the side about something you need to know, like what it’s especially good for. You’re going to recognize these containers, you see them every day. There’s the one you get bulk apples in, there’s the one you get Chinese food in.
G: Folding cartons. I bet Uline has this book, right? There’s one person who has it in the office but doesn’t tell anyone else. They all wonder, “How does she always come up with these new boxes?”
S: There’s a box in here that has a sort of rosette top on it, an octagonal box, and I was like, “Hey, that’s the Frango mints box!”
G: There are no measurements in here…
S: So you can make them any size. I have never made any of these. Am I likely to make them? Probably not. But I really like looking at the book. It sort of feels like that part on standardized tests where you have to figure out what shape something will make in three dimensions, or what directions a gear should be turning.
G: I took the ASVAB, the military test, when I was thinking about going to a military academy during high school. I wanted to find out how well I would do. Too well, as it turns out — they recruiters start to call and never let up.
S: So my second book— and I think it was intended for you to make these from the patterns because it comes with a CD ROM— is Folding Patterns for Display and Publicity. It’s from a company that also does a lot of clip art books.
G: Did you buy this, too?
S: I bought that, too. I got it at Seattle’s University Bookstore. I think it might be aimed at the general public, but it is still pretty technical.
G: It’s about how to fold cardboard displays?
S: Yes! So if you work in a library where they keep telling you there’s no way they can possibly buy you more acrylic display stands, you can fold them yourself out of cardboard! They’re really creative, there’s a stand that you would see on the table at a restaurant that would list the drink specials. There’s a standing folded literature display.
G: They would look great on a conference table, or at the reference desk.
G: They would be insubstantial with the wrong kind of paper. It would take some experimentation.
S: Get some nice cardstock. “I have to buy this nice cardstock, honey, it won’t work otherwise!”
G: I think paper is a really underrated material for making things, for Maker projects. We’re all stuck on wanting to make 3D prints out of plastic. I don’t know what I would do with this, though.
S: That’s the thing, there’s a CD ROM, but my printer only goes up to 8.5×11″, so everything would be really tiny when folded. But if I ever wanted to do the most boring cosplay where I just printed out all of the grocery containers from a fictional universe, I could do that. I’m always tempted to do it for Firefly, because all of their food came from this one company that turned out to be purely malevolent.
G: I think you need to go to AAA Craftsman Supply, I know it’s about $10 for a ream of cardstock.
S: Then I can go to town.
G: You love miniatures.
S: I do. You’ve got to make the paper miniatures from here and here.