Maria Matthes

Handle with Care

Bachelor of Design Packaging Identity Speculative Prototype

Design Instagram Account: mbsm_des


The subscription package designed for the days where you just want to be Handled with Care.

With the final year approaching, came the time to reflect on what I can contribute to society, given what I've learnt in the past three years. Contemplating what to design for my final project, I considered what Graphic Design meant to me and what good it can bring to the world, especially the community I want to give back to.  

In the face of Covid-19, many jobs had reached their limitations in what they were able to do or produce, and the Creative Industries were given a time to shine from the remoteness of our homes. Despite the unforeseen circumstances, creatives were encouraged to use their talents. Despite the many comments I've heard from friends or adults who have said " What job will that get you?" "How much will you earn?" "Why not become a doctor or a lawyer?" I came to a realisation of the importance this pathway I had chosen became. As a result, I settled on designing a product which will prove that design can influence the youth in positive ways with the right research.

Owing to the fact that I was raised with the mindset of prioritising my community, I dedicate this project to benefitting those I am surrounded by, especially the youth, my friends. After experiencing the mentally draining struggles and hardships of the first lockdown, I decided this is what I can do for our community in isolation, if it were it to occur again, I hope it may help other students in similar circumstances, quarantined at home in need of something to reassure them and remind them to take care of themselves.

Handle with Care, the subscription based care package designed to counter your lockdown blues.

The year 2020 has been a time of confusion, isolation and introversion.
Covid-19 had New Zealand experiencing an increase in demand for mental health services, which was expected as people grapple with unemployment and the pressures of the post-novel coronavirus lockdown environment.

Being quarantined at home with only the "essential" items needed for survival, has limited self-care, as items which bring positive mental stimulation became unavailable, as expected of its "non-essential" label.  

From this, I designed a subscription service which diffuses the effects of distress, anxiety, depression and insomnia during isolation through self-care. This care package is a theoreticised essential service, labelled as such that if a lockdown were to happen, a product like this would be available, especially for our youth, who are often recommended to take time off for themselves when stress accumulates as they approach their twenties.

Handle with Care becomes a tailored subscription package, essential for those days which you just want to be handled with care, a distraction from the loneliness of isolation and a reflection space through self-care and relaxation.

Handle with Care has a variety of products to choose from, and consumers are given the ability to select which products they want, to cater to their preferences of scents and colour. With the theory of aromatherapy and colour therapy, Handle with Care adapts the benefits of psychological healing, using reminiscent colours and scents of seasonal themes which are known to be great for stress, anxiety and depression, in this way, every time a box is opened, the experience alone will have a positive effect on the consumer.

Seeing as Handle with Care's main priority is to ensure our youth is being taken care of, with the products of self-indulgence, there is also a wellbeing chart which is made to hang on your wall to remind yourself first thing in the morning, the small steps to achieving self-care every day. This doubles as a method to ensure you get moving, up and out of bed by allowing your creative juices to flow through therapeutic exercises, whether it be decorating your daily task boxes or colouring in the sleeve to customise your box.

Today, there are many apps which offer different methods of healing for everyone, whether it be through music, idle-gaming, reading or meditation. For the early bird social media scrollers, each box comes with a coupon for a paid subscription for your chosen method of healing, allowing you to self-care anywhere.

This package becomes more than just your average subscription box, it creates an experience which helps you transition into a new mindset, handling you with care mentally and physically.