Saturday, November 15, 2008

John K. Package Design

One of my crazy beliefs is that character merchandise should be as fun as cartoons themselves.
Kevin Kolde hired Spumco to design packages for paint projects in the mid 90s and we took what Palmer Paints were already selling with generic names and titles and rethought their products.

What was once "poster Paint" became "TV Cartoon Paint". If you were a kid, which would you rather have?

Not only do we try to make the packages look fun, we write jokes all over them too. My philosophy is to be nice to kids (and kid-like adults!). Richard Pursel and Elinor Blake and I wrote lotsa fun stuff on the packages and each one featured a message from a Hollywood cartoonist to the kids.
We made a whole bunch more paint sets. You probably don't want to see the rest though.

Spumco made toys too and so I worked with cool designers to do the packaging. The Jimmy Of The Future box was designed by the brilliant Dave Sheldon-who designed many of the retro fake-commercials in the original Ren and Stimpy cartoons.
I designed The George Liquor Talking Man box and worked with Craig Kelly who was our graphic designer.
Craig and I designed these cell painting kits, and we used to stay up all night long having laughing fits on the floor coming up with the gags that we put all over the boxes.
Craig and I almost died laughing at 4 in the morning as we tried to figure out how kids could wear a mask of a 3/4 angle of Cartoon legend Joe Barbera. Finally I said, let's clone his left ear and attach it on the right side of his head!" Then Craig said but then the eyes won't be in the middle..." He solved that quickly by adding the tab between Joe's face and his ear.

Joe loved this box when I presented it to him. He said "John, this is craaaaaazy!!" and grabbed me and dragged me into his office and showed me his shower room and his secret treasure- a poster signed to him by Michael Jackson that he kept hidden in the closet and would only show to open-minded soul mates like me.

We even wrote funny instruction booklets for the cel painting kits and they made Linda Jones really mad.

Here is the box for the Lost Episodes of Ren and Stimpy coming soon from Paramount. The famous innovator, Annmarie Ashkar designed it.
Go ahead and strain your eyes to see if you can read all the crap all over the box.

We also are working on the "Ultimate Set" which is more graphic in the design. Wanna see it?

OK, maybe I'll write more stories about these boxes later, but I have to go meet Eddie Fitzgerald for pizza and theories.
He's the guy who made the funniest short cartoon for TV in the last 10 years, I think. Starring the "Worm". TALES of WORM PARANOIA