Old DVD Packaging Redesign

-A Quick Design Exercise


Object Lessons
[packaging redesign][quick iteration]
the original DVD packaging, black and white paper

We were each given 5 dollars to buy an old “object”, not knowing what it’s for. Afterwards, we were told to design a new packaging to make the object more exciting.


The Design

The Process

The Original Packaging

The original packaging is a pretty standard DVD packaging. The main color theme is yellow and black (the DVD is also of this color theme).

A black and white portrait of the main character is shown on the front of the packaging, along with the title of the movie on top. 

When one opens the package, they will see a short description of the movie, and a black white photo of the main character in action.

The back of the packaging is just black plastics, with a part of the inside picture revealed. Though this might not be an intentional design choice, it adds a sense of mystery and suspense that fits the movie’s detective theme.


I decided to use the DVD’s two characteristics being an old film, and its detective theme as my starting point for a packaging re-design.

I determined the overall shape of the packaging design to be the shape of roll film, to add more excitement and creativity to the package, and also touch the theme of the DVD being an old movie.
The user can use the film hanging outside to pull out the DVD.
I quickly made a prototype out of scratch paper to test out this concept and its mechanism.

Adding other elements
Also inspired by the idea of old films, I thought of the very first motion pictures in the world being a few sequential pictures played together (though this is somewhat descriptive of all motion pictures even till present) I tried to incorporate this aspect into the packaging design by having an opening that would reveal the inside layer, and the inside layer would be sequential pictures in a wheel shape that can be rolled around. When a user roll the inside layer around, they will see a moving picture from the outer opening.
However, from testing with a low-fidelity prototype, this concept is proven to not work very well.

My professor suggested me to think about how the packaging will stand. A rounded shape will not be able to be showcased on a shelf, therefore, I tested giving the “roll film” a flat bottom.

However, from another low-fidelity prototype, it can be seen that the flat bottom took away from the packaging’s overall appearance as a roll film.

I decided to try to approach the rest of the packaging as a “scratchbook” project, using elements from the original packaging. A “scratchbook” project also has a sense of the reminiscence of olden days, which fits with the “old film” theme in my project.

The face of the detective (main character) is not revealed in the front, to add a sense of suspense and mystery in accordance with the detective theme. But his portrait is hinted by his hat and clothing revealed from the opening shapes in the “roll film”.

I further made small elements associated with the image of a detective, such as glasses and a pipe, to further hint at his identity and also make the front more interesting with more details

I transferred the image of the detective in action, and the short description of the film, (on the inside of the original packaging), to the back of the my packaging design. 

In this way, a user can pick up the packaging and quickly have a sense of the story, and they could better determine if they will want to watch this film.

Further Thoughts

Though this is only a small project, it is very inspirational for me in thinking about how the design process could be. Usually, I would approach a design project with a structured process of user research-background research-ideation-concept development...

However, for this project, my approach is more perhaps even more divergent and playful. Though this approach could not fit all design projects, it is an interesting angle to tackle, and could be revisited in some future projects.
Violet Han @2023