When UK printer Boss Print launched a new sibling company Boss Box in 2016, they called upon graphic designer Jim Sutherland to come up with a sample set that could showcase the company’s full range of luxury box packaging. For Boxes in Boxes Sutherland chose to nest the seven types of boxes one inside the other with a casebound specification book at the centre. To give the project a structure, Sutherland used the lyrics of the cumulative children’s rhyme ‘There was an old lady who swallowed a fly’, written by Alan Mills and Rose Bonne in 1952 and made into a hit record by folk singer Burl Ives.
The type on the largest box reads: ‘There was an old lady who swallowed a horse. She’s dead – of course!’, followed by ‘There was an old lady who swallowed a cow, I don’t know how she swallowed a cow!’ and so on. Each fits satisfyingly snugly inside the other and uses a paper colour and texture that reflects the animals in the rhyme: ‘We had a brilliant afternoon at the Fedrigoni studio choosing all the different papers that would work with it: horse-coloured, goat-coloured, yellow for the bird,’ says Sutherland. ‘Cat’ posed the greatest challenge and takes its colour from Russian Blue and British Blue cats.