There are two defining activities of the Mid-Autumn Festival, mooncake consumption and the lantern festival. What if we can reuse the mooncake packaging for the lanterns?
The Mid Autumn Festival is celebrated in China, Korea, and Vietnam. It takes place on the 15th of the eighth lunar month (approx. early October), on the night of the brightest full moon. The defining value of the festival is “unity of the family”. The family is supposed to gather, and be complete, just like the full moon.
The mooncake is a traditional treat commonly gifted at Mid Autumn Festival. In the Chinese culture, the round shape of the mooncakes symbolizes unity and completion. Mooncakes are supposed to be enjoyed by the whole family.
Another notable part of the Festival is the lantern festival that happens during the mid-autumn festival. Riddles are commonly written on the lanterns. People would try to guess each other’s riddles as a game. This is an activity for the whole family to enjoy.
Nowadays, mooncakes are often an obligatory gift to friends and distant relatives for every Chinese family. Traditional mooncakes do not differ much in terms of taste, thus, most mooncakes distinguish themselves with elaborate packaging. Many come in large metal tins, which, though nice and fancy, are very wasteful. What if we can reuse that package for something else relevant to the mid-autumn festival? Can we preserve a sense of class and prestige within the package without creating something a package that’ll become completely useless afterwards?
Lightcake sought to address this problem. The packaging for Lightcake comes with a LED tealight, and turns into a beautiful lantern. Playful, warm, and a touch of mature elegance, this charming package is targeted towards the entire family.
The brand Lightcake is a visual play on the word moon cake. The full moon, a symbol of the festival, is displayed on the package. When one holds the lantern, they are holding a bright moon in their hand.
The Chinese name, 明餅 (ming bing), translates to ‘bright cake’. A reference to how the package lights up. 明, the Chinese character for bright, is made up of 日 the sun and 月 the moon. Thus, the character of “moon” is included in the name of Lightcake.
The Moon is visually displayed on the package. Warm colours are used to bring a sense of unity and friendliness that one would associate with the festival.
The lantern include two riddles each. One in Chinese, and one in English. Writing riddles on lanterns is one of the major traditions of mid-autumn festival. It adds an element of fun to the package. The answer to the riddles are hidden within the dividers inside the package.
As a Chinese-Canadian who is still frequently in touch with the Chinese culture, frequenting the Chinese supermarket and receiving mooncakes every year, I was familiar with my subject of choice and my target audience. This was an advantage for me. I had a clear idea of the basic visual aesthetics before I started the project.
The biggest challenge of this project was the time crunch. I was given three weeks to do the project. I spent two of those weeks trying to figure out the folds and doing visual prototypes. By the end, I had at least nine prototypes. Trying to figure out how many lanterns to make was another challenge. My original plan was to make a small package for each mooncake within the larger package, and make each of them a lantern, so the package would contain a total of three mooncakes and four lanterns. Ultimately, I decided that was too wasteful and settled for dividers between each mooncake instead.
Originally, I have intended to pack a small LED light with a battery for the consumer to assemble. However, for safety, I decided to settle with a dollar store tea light instead.