My Cute Friend

Tired of unattainable standards? You aren't alone. My Cute Friend is designed to be a companion you can love for its odd, imperfect quirks. Too often we are sold toys and products that are cookie-cutter and unrealistically beautiful. But we recognize that life is far from perfect, and we should celebrate all the things that make us boldly unique.

Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator

Direction: Omar Sosa-Tzec Delightful Design

The packaging follows traditional kawaii principles and proportions. However, the companion inside is strikingly different, and as a way to invoke surprise and irony, intentionally strays away from the these fixed principles. My Cute Friend is a companion for anyone that needs a reminder that cuteness is subjective, including much more than what fits in a rigid dictionary definition. 

The keychain encourages the user to bring their friend with them wherever they may go, serving as a reminder to alter the current narrative surrounding cuteness culture. 

The Process

For this project, we were given the task of making a rock as cute as possible, as well as creating packaging and a website for it. 

Initially, I explored kawaii aesthetics and heavily researched the "yamikawaii" phenomena, or "sick" cute, where traditional kawaii imagery is combined with images of death, guns, needles, and blood as a way to highlight a dark truth of the stigmatization of mental health in Japanese culture. 

My preliminary sketches explored the duality of identity that some Japanese teens and young adults feel: an identity composed of both a desire to conform and fit in but also a need to bring awareness to taboo topics.

 

However, my ideas felt unoriginal and I felt heavily unqualified to be addressing this topic from my outside perspective. So I went in a slightly different direction. In these sketches, I still explore duality but in a way that relates more to cuteness aesthetic. The packaging would have a traditional kawaii face, but the rock inside would have abnormal proportions. The bear's proportions didn't seem extreme enough and were not effective. 

 

I went back to see how extreme I could make the proportions and decided that a face more closely related to a human would be more effective. These were my final sketches.

 

Clay Iterations

Final iteration! :)