Pith Flower Shop is a collective founded by Irene Lin Wei that focuses on the preservation and education about the traditional art of Taiwanese hand-crafted pith paper flowers. Originally, artificial flowers were developed in Ancient China so that people could access flowers that were not locally grown, or restricted by the changing seasons. These flowers are made using a paper-like material called pith veneer (or in Chinese, tongcao 通草) handmade by one of the last remaining pith veneer makers in Taiwan.
I had the honor of designing the brand identity of Pith Flower Shop in order to help bring attention and awareness to this near-defunct craft. The challenge of this project was to create a brand that pays respects to an age-old artisanal craft but is simultaneously a refreshing modern take on the concept. In addition, the brand had to be comfortably bilingual due to its Taiwanese origin.
The primary logo mark was designed with an asian seal or stamp in mind. The circular shape depicts a wholeness and balance.
The central illustration is composed of the Tetrapanax Papyrifer, the leaf from which pith paper for flower-making is derived. The flower is a plum blossom, which is the national flower of Taiwan.
The typefaces chosen are sans-serifs with slight flourishes that give the words an elegant and decorative, yet polished look. The Chinese phrase says, “tong cao hua,” which is the term for these handmade flowers.
Photography is another central component to the brand. A secondary logo that is flat and typography-based is paired with photos in order to blend together more seamlessly. The circular seal logo is reserved for areas of application where the illustration and colors will not be a distraction.
[Photography is by Eden Tai, a RISD 2019 graduate. All flowers photographed were lovingly handcrafted by Irene Wei herself.]