• Design

SXSW Souvenirs: Design Process

There’s a lot of free stuff in Austin this week, and we’re pretty sure most of it just ends up in a landfill. From stickers, to device chargers, to buttons, to crappy sunglasses; for SXSW this year, we decided our swag of choice would be radish seed packages. We wanted to create something that extended further than the conference and should it be tossed in the trash somewhere along the way, would be completely biodegradable.

SXSW design

We sourced our ‘packages’ from Amazon (the hardest part was picking the color!) and knew we wanted a design for the tiny envelopes that would hold the seeds. We also needed a way to communicate the growing instructions for those who aren’t seasoned radish farmers. So, we designed the front to convey the general idea of the project and the back to convey instruction.

We went with a hand lettered design to drive home the tactile, human feel of the project we wanted. We sketched out a few options using art pens, and our very talented designer, Hege, created the version we finally settled on.


These are some of the sketches we did. We ended up going with the one in the lower right corner which we imported into Adobe Illustrator, using the image trace tool and going over it with the smooth tool to make the edges a little less rough.

SXSW design

It didn’t make much sense to us to send a hand lettering job to a regular printer, you’d lose the handmade quality that made the work special. We worked with an incredible stamp maker in the East Village, Casey Rubber Stamps, who helped bring the designs to life. The imperfections that come through stamping gave the packages just the flavor we hoped for.

SXSW design

One morning a few days before we headed to Austin, our design team cathartically stamped the fronts and backs of 100 tiny envelopes, filled them with a pinch of seeds, and sealed them with sponges so as to avoid the gross envelope adhesive taste in their mouths.

From start to finish, this was an inexpensive, environmentally considerate, and tactile design project that gave us something fun and different to pass along to people we met.

SXSW design