Kamehameha Schools Ho‘okahua – Hawaiian Cultural Development Office asked us to create packaging for their Hawaiian salt gift boxes. The mission of Kamehameha Schools in Hawai‘i is to improve the capability and well-being of Hawaiians through education. They operate an educational system serving thousands of students of Hawaiian ancestry at K–12 campuses and preschool sites statewide, as well as a range of programs and community collaborations. Ho‘okahua is the cultural division of Kamehameha Schools, ensuring that the educational system maintains culturally appropriate communications and public image. This office often meets with dignitaries and various communities to host special events, such as summits on education.
Kamehameha Schools Ho‘okahua wanted to create a unique gift that attendees could keep from these events – something to be remembered by. Though the product, pa‘akai (salt), seems simple at first glance, it is actually very special. Traditionally, native Hawaiians use the salt not only in cooking and preserving foods, but also in healing and cleansing the body and spirit. Our task was to highlight the salt’s cultural and environmental relevance in Hawai‘i. The goal was to design high-quality packaging that appeals to Ho‘okahua’s guests while proudly reflecting the Hawaiian culture.
Design Solution: Every aspect of the salt gift box package design is a tribute to Hawai‘i’s nā kai (oceans), from the indigenous limu (seaweed) illustrated to the salt locally harvested by Kamehameha Schools Ho‘okahua staff.
There are four underwater landscapes on the hexagon-shaped gift boxes, featuring multicolored corals, limu, and various plants that are all indigenous to Hawai‘i. The box closure at the top creates a shape reminiscent of a flower, anemone, or even a sea star. The inner folds reveal a pleasant solid color based on the box’s palette. The box interior is designed with a lively green pattern, continuing the kai (ocean) theme. The boxes’ undersides state the school and office name for recognition. These boxes are also collapsible for easy storage and assembly.