“It’s the circle of life, and it moves us all, through despair and hope, through faith and love, ’till we find our place, on the path unwinding.” – Circle of Life by Elton John
Last November, we hired a design partner from Taiwan, Andres of Antlers Artisans, on a freelance basis to collaborate on brainstorming the visual elements for Co brand. As usual, whenever we work together, we always manage to ignite unexpected sparks of creativity, leading to a series of stunning concepts that align perfectly with the brand’s intended direction.
Visual Concept for Co Floral Pattern
We derived the brand from “Coco’s Cafe” and simplified it to the concept of “Co,” which embodies the core pillars of Cool, Comfort, and Connection. I will elaborate on the details later. As for the visual elements, we aimed for a minimalist style centered around circles, creating a classic corporate logo. Ancient Greek scholars believed that a circle was the most perfect shape. Circles evoke feelings of harmony, completeness, unity, and inclusiveness, which is why many Eastern philosophies emphasize the concept of wholeness. In addition to circles, we wanted to incorporate Taiwanese impressions into our visual elements by integrating motifs commonly found in Taiwan, such as iron window grilles, embossed glass, or floral tiles. Floral tiles were introduced to East Asian countries during the Age of Discovery in the 15th to 17th centuries as imports from Europe, mainly from Japan to Taiwan. Wrought iron window grilles emerged in Taiwan in the 1920s with the influx of Western modern architecture. During the economic boom of the 1950s and 1960s when many people could afford to build houses on their agricultural land, they wanted to differentiate their buildings while maintaining a similar appearance, often adding unique patterns to the iron grilles to express a certain lifestyle, attitude and taste. Embossed glass was extensively used in Taiwan during the 1950s and 1960s, giving a nostalgic and retro feel. It represents a valuable traditional glass craftsmanship, with the most classic pattern being the crabapple blossom, a childhood memory for many Taiwanese people.
Andres skillfully combined these concepts by integrating the letters “C” and “O” into a floral pattern resembling the crabapple blossom. He meticulously adjusted the line thickness, size, spacing, and arrangement to achieve visual harmony. A seemingly simple design actually requires a significant amount of time to complete. The initial visual concept was developed last November, but it wasn’t until February of this year that we finalized it, with printing completed in March. Of course, this process involved back-and-forth communication and conflicts with the clients. Many clients are trapped in their conventional thinking, unable to break free from its limitations. Their thoughts and actions are bound by preconceived notions, and they tend to be conservative and resistant to new ideas and alternative perspectives. Therefore, I often spend a considerable amount of time educating clients, encouraging them to explore new directions and embrace innovative concepts. While I may not always succeed in completely convincing them, I can at least take pride in fulfilling the professional responsibilities of a decent visual designer.
Although the floral pattern design derived from the Co brand concept ultimately became a discarded artifact by the client throughout the process of communication, education, discussion, and conflicts, I still feel it would be a shame to abandon them. As someone who enjoys repurposing old items, I couldn’t give up on any design that I believed was worth salvaging. With the client’s approval, I personally had the design printed on clothing. I hope to showcase this fun and uniquely Taiwanese design, allowing more people to see it, and even wear it!
During this year’s spring break, a friend visited from Arizona, and the freshly printed T-shirt arrived just in time. They were the first wave of families who immigrated from Taiwan to the United States to assist in building the TSMC fab. When my friend’s husband saw the clothes we designed, he remarked that they closely resembled the semiconductor wafers produced in their fab and jokingly suggested buying them as uniforms. If only that were true…
After more than two months, those clothes are still sitting in the warehouse. I know progress has been slow, but I have been racking my brain to find an eco-friendly packaging solution. I am well aware that prioritizing beautiful packaging would compromise environmental friendliness. Therefore, in the end, I decided to forgo any special packaging materials. However, for customers who order online, we will use recycled packaging materials to maintain the cleanliness of the clothes during shipping.
Lastly, I would like to make an effort to promote our first official product this time, the Much Love Collab: Floral Pattern T, where “T” represents Taiwan, Texas, and T-shirts. The fabric of the clothes is made from 60% recycled cotton and 40% recycled polyester (from recycled PET bottles), making it 100% recycled material. Furthermore, to support local businesses, the design is printed with care in a small-scale printing shop in Austin.
This design is not just an imagination derived from our childhood impressions in Taiwan. It represents a combination of repeated concepts linked to create a beautiful floral pattern that symbolizes beauty, gentleness, and happiness, just like the symbolism associated with the crabapple blossom, representing youth, wonder, marriage, and most important, LOVE.
20% of the proceeds from the sale of this product will be donated to charity, and I will publicly disclose the charity information and amount of the donation in the future.