Orendao Packaging — What’s in the box?

You’d think at least one step of this process would be straightforward…

And, to be fair, technically, it was.

The packaging was ordered from a first class supplier. We slid in just in time to for their turnaround time to fit the deadline. It wasn’t ideal, but it was workable.

And a week later, right in the middle of burning the first run of Orendao tiles, I get a call: We still need your art work.” Of course.

I did upload the artwork…”

There I am in a cold workshop, it’s dark out, burners are running, pressing tile after tile. Listening to about 30 minutes of please-hold-pop-tunes later: You did upload the artwork, unfortunately…”

Long call, short story: there was no way for them to deliver them in time.

Well. I’m going to finish pressing these tiles tonight. I can figure out packaging tomorrow.


I cast around for alternative suppliers.

Nope. Opaque lead times. Iffy quotes. Confusing customization processes. All landed me in the same situation.

I cast out even further, checking with anyone I knew (and a few people I didn’t) who worked in print design. Everyone was genial, and encouraging, and understandably, saw me up a creek without a paddle.

That left the one, nutter, option…


Ok, let’s see. How do you make a box? It can’t be that difficult. ODAO+Packing+page+2.jpg

It is that difficult.

And boring-exciting in the way arts crafts are boring-exciting (scrap book lovers, I get you now).

And defeating: Why don’t you fit? Why don’t you stick? What’s up with those lines? How are you bending there?!


The breakthrough, as has so often been the case, was my brother Joseph.

Not-so-tongue-in-cheek, Joseph’s hand is hidden all over in Orendao. He’s collaborated at several stages, since the beginning: illustration and design, materials, mechanics, research. Worth it’s own article.

Included in Joseph’s array of hobbia obscura is binding books, by hand. He takes it more serious than he’ll probably admit. He’s probably annoyed I’m mentioning it. (Hi Jo.)

Anyway, Joseph jumped in, in a pinch, and helped me solve layout, materials, and workflow.

Yeah, that won’t fit. You want archival, neutral PH glue. No, bend it first, then do your cuts, you already messed it up. Don’t bend it there. (Thanks Jo.)

And I scrapped together some quick and dirty prototypes. Not pictured: several mangled, tortured, glue-spattered experiments that don’t fit the description box”.

Not pictured: several mangled, tortured, glue-spattered experiments that don’t fit the description box”.

Then it was a rush to the local printer to special order the heaviest weight paper they could work with.

Again, with the holidays approaching, in our small town, turnaround time was tricky. Massive thanks to the lifesavers at Star Printery. They walked me through several stages of troubleshooting, proofing, redesigning. (I owe you all a round of coffees, or three.) received_1242339635960855.jpeg

So, the first few sets of Orendao are handmade. Right down to the packaging.

Of course.

Like everything else involved in this pre-launch, they’re flawed and beautiful. A little rough around the edges.

Now we just need to put something inside them… received_452902762302613.jpeg received_2467633876859215.jpeg processed_DSC_0223.JPG processed_DSC_0224.JPG what’s in the box.png processed_DSC_0221.JPG received_452902762302613.jpegreceived_2467633876859215.jpegprocessed_DSC_0223.JPGprocessed_DSC_0224.JPGwhat’s in the box.pngprocessed_DSC_0221.JPG


If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the poster hung in Whistlestop Toys, downton Port Townsend.

I’d be remiss to mention they’ve been fantastic support during this process. They have an insane range of toys and games, packed into their shop, and manage to run a great gaming room.

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