Simin Xu reveals the tricks behind his “straightforward, simple and regular” package designs
From perfume bottles to boxes, scented candles to shopping bags, the designer expertly blends minimalist style with clever, to-the-point graphics.
- Ayla Angelos
- 23 May 2022
When Simin Xu (徐宾粟) says he likes “straightforward, simple and regular designs”, well, he isn't joking. Working towards minimalism in all its refined and structured glory, each glyph and mark the designer composes has been cleverly thought out before he turns it into a pleasing piece of packaging. It’s clear that he prefers to let the audience know exactly what they’re getting – “to let consumers clearly understand your design and products,” he tells It’s Nice That.
Based in Ningbo, China, Simin defines himself as a graphic designer, photographer “enthusiast and planner”. He learned his craft during university and since (for the past eight years, to be exact), he’s been working as a designer alongside the co-founding of his brand 寓义 to Define®. Through the latter arm, Simin designs for a host of different products in the branding world, often working with Yuihome Living to create identities for perfumes, oils and scented candles, as well as the posters and bags, boxes and packets they all arrive in. When working on a project like this, Simin looks to the user – or consumer – first to determine the style “they can accept and love”. This can be a lifestyle, reading habit or colour preference; the things that make us, us. Then it’s on to the design stage, before turning to the budget, materiality and process. Last but not least, it’s the sketching stage and use of software, typically Adobe and building “some hand-painted or hand-crafted representations”.
One of Simin’s latest endeavours is the packaging for Mini Spray, conceived as part of the 寓义 to Define® brand. The product does what it says on the tin – it’s a mini spray. It’s also wrapped up neatly in a blue-tinted box, imprinted in one simple word – you guessed it – spray. “The packaging adopts a straightforward form,” explains Simin, citing triangles, circles and general spray patterns as key features of the design. Meanwhile, numbers and scent names are marked on the side of the bottle, while the Chinese on the packaging has been derived from the “proportions of the graphics”. Subtle intricacies are what makes Simin’s work so enticing, not least for the fact that the products they design for can be used for anything, and by anyone. This particular Mini Spray scent series is what Simin refers to as “everyday without counting”. He adds: “Therefore, we emphasise the ‘everyday’ and ‘not making up the numbers’.”
In Simin’s point of view, “particular, caring and serious” are the words that summarise the branding for Mini Spray. But really, they can be applied to his wider portfolio. His work is full of little surprises and we’re all for it. “It’s like a communication that you can emphasise without using words,” he concludes. With plans to release many more perfume design projects this year, we can expect many more great things to come from Simin. There might also be a stylistic refresh at some point down the line too, but that’s all we know for now.
Simin Xu: Award360°年度100 寓义to Define香氛喷雾包装设计 设计师 (Copyright © Simin Xu 徐宾粟, 2022)
About the Author
Ayla was an editorial assistant back in June 2017 and has continued to work with us on a freelance basis. She has spent nearly a decade as a journalist, and covers a range of topics including photography, art and graphic design. Feel free to contact Ayla with any stories or new creative projects.