The Visual Communication Design programme at Aalto University (VCD) is an international learn- ing community committed to investigating new modes of action within visual communication. This archive was established in 2020 as a means to document and share the activity and work of the programme.

Aalto University Executive Education (Packaging Design Minor)


[Project Year] 




Aalto University Executive Education


[Student team]

Nga Nguyen

Lilla Tóth

Johanna Tarkiainen

Cecillia van Dongen


[Background & Challenge]

In March 2018, six design students and three teachers specializing in ceramics from Aalto University’s Department of Design, travelled to Jingdezhen, China—the source and birthplace of porcelain manufac- ture, where they created 24 unique vases on the spot during a 24-day workshop. One of the vases, “Pikkupomelo” by Saija Halko, was commissioned to be a VIP gift, which Dr. Pekka Mattila, the Managing Director of Aalto EE, will give in person to international executive leaders while travelling abroad.


The challenge was to design a package that complements the “Pikkupomelo” vase –  a package that communicates the Aalto University Executive Education values, the premiumness of the vase, while abiding by the gift-giving rituals.



After rigorous research into the client and the definition of quality and luxury, the brief was turned into a design goal – to create a memorable unboxing experience by activating the senses of sight, sound, smell, and touch. Together with the vase, the package was to be considered a work of art.


Five concepts and more than 20 prototypes were explored throughout the entire process. In the end, the final design was produced, where the colours of the package became a reminder of the Jingdezhen porcelain, and beautifully echoed the vase colours of the “Pikkupomelo”. The iconic slanted edge of the package is a subtle nostalgia of the Gaoling mountain terrains, hinting at the story of the vase.


[About Pack-Age at Aalto University]

Pack-Age is an intensive and extensive packaging design project minor at Aalto University uniting design, business, and engineering, to sustainability and project-based learning. Students work in transdisciplinary teams with real projects from the industry. Creative problem-solving is a key concept of the course, where students’ backgrounds become the core resource for creative teamwork.