Well-Rounded

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By Diana Budds / Published by Dwell
A Bluetooth speaker’s cylindrical packaging communicates a 360-degree design message.

"We focus on emotional relevance," says Branko Lukic, cofounder of the San Francisco–based product design and branding studio Nonobject. "Beyond satisfying functional needs, at the end of the day, no matter what we tell ourselves, emotions determine what resonates with us." Nonobject developed both the product concept and packaging for Boom by Ultimate Ears, a portable, water-resistant Bluetooth speaker. It delivers sound in 360 degrees, an important quality that sets it apart in today’s hypersaturated small electronics market. 

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“As a kid, I was fascinated by how clever matchbooks are. You can find brilliance in simple things. Flat cardboard matches are so simple, with the product and packaging becoming one.” —Branko Lukic, cofounder of Nonobject

When it comes to packaging design in general, Lukic believes that his role is to focus on creating the right amount of protective elements to ensure that a product makes it from the manufacturer to your hands damage free, without using unnecessary materials. In the case of Boom, the additional challenges were making it a lust-worthy product and telling its story in the "most brilliant, most simple way," he says. 

Like the speaker itself, the packaging is cylindrical in shape, a move that expresses the product’s form and also gives it shelf appeal. Lukic finds the out-of-box experience—what designers call the process of unpacking a product—for most electronics to be a frustrating ordeal. We’ve all struggled with shrink-wrap, styrofoam peanuts, and confounding boxes that require special tools to open. Unpacking Broom’s container is an entirely different experience. Lukic sought to remove all the barriers that typically come between people and their new electronics. "In some ways it appears like a jewelry box, where you open it and immediately see the product," he says. "You’d laugh if there was bubble wrap around a piece of jewelry." After the box is opened, it can be reused for storage instead of being tossed in the recycling bin.