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han ip

Han Ip is a conceptual canned tea business that aspires to introduce Korean tea to those who are not familiar. The brand name Han Ip translates to “one bite/sip” in Korean and is commonly used in the phrase “han ip man” which signifies “just one bite/sip”. The phrase is often thrown around friends or family to ask for a bite or a sip of their food or drink. 

Each flavor is paired with a Korean mythical creature that shares a similar symbolism with the ingredients that are used to brew the tea. With a brief explanation of the cultural meaning on the back of the cans, it gives the illustrations context and lets the consumers further connect with the product.

For example, Yuja, which translates to a citron in Korean, is often associated with justice. Similarly, Haetae (also known as a unicorn-lion) sculptures were placed in front of royal palaces to uphold law and order and prevent natural fire disasters. As both citrons and Haetaes represent justice, a sword for law and order and a scale for justice were incorporated into the designs. Using the same logic, Mesil Cha uses a Korean sundial needle to convey longevity and fate through reincarnation, and Omija Cha uses a traditional bat pattern that symbolizes good luck.

Other than the illustrations that directly correspond to the symbolism, pieces from decorative folding screens that were placed behind a king’s throne in ancient Korea, such as traditional cloud shapes were integrated into the design as well. The color palette was inspired by Dancheong, which refers to traditional Korean decorative coloring on wooden buildings and artifacts. Luckily, the Dancheong color palette consisted of colors that could represent green plums, citrons, and red magnolia berries, which were used as the dominant colors for each flavor.

For the outer packaging that holds all six of the cans from the sampler I'm designing, I couldn't find any mockups that was what I was thinking of, so I created the overview of the sampler in an illustrative approach. I didn't want to design a box that covered up the illustrations on the cans, so I decided to create a rather simple structure that covers only a small amount of the surface area of the cans.

illustration process

I had already done quite a lot of the research before sketching, and I knew which mythical animals and tea flavors would be paired together. I sketched out the citron tea first and began the rough sketches for the rest of the flavors.

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Then, I picked out the color scheme from the Dancheong designs that can be found on Korean architecture. I picked a dominant colors for each of the flavors from the color palette but I thought that the dominant colors were a little too overwhelming with the colors being incorporated into the mythical creatures as well. 

I wanted to experiment with adding texture, as well as incorporating more white into the design to dilute the overpowering dominant colors. I tried out this spray paint effect using the colors on white for shading, which gave a more three-dimensional look to the illustrations. However, I noticed that the vibrant colors from the previous iteration were becoming muted. I think one of the charms from the previous version was the vibrant colors, so I decided to remove the white from the composition.

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So I decided to go with all-white for the illustrations of the mythical beasts as a solution! I have the entire composition consisting of flat colors but if I had more time, I would have explored ways to incorporate a little bit of texture but less than the texture from the previous version.

I think I will continue to tweak the designs until I'm satisfied! (if that's even possible)