In a society where so many material goods surround us surely the best kind of souvenir is one that celebrates the moment but doesn’t clutter up our lives.
Tunnock’s Medals is a box of confectionery medals (one gold, one silver and one bronze) to be awarded to whomever their owner thinks deserves them the most. The ambition is simple: that people will use the medals to celebrate their own achievements and get actively involved in the sporting spirit of the Games. Best of all, the medals are an easily affordable souvenir that everyone can enjoy – and we all know someone who deserves a medal!
Tunnock’s is a company that is well known throughout Scotland and across the world for its famous teacakes and wafers, which are still manufactured in Uddingston to this day. As a brand Tunnock’s confectionery has an appealing iconic status known for its bold packaging and family values, which have kept the business going since 1890.
Working closely with Tunnock’s, the design teams at Chesapeake packaging (makers of Tunnock’s cartons) and Friths (makers of Tunnock’s confectionary foils), the initial proposal was carefully and collaboratively developed. Our collective desire was to generate a design that would sit happily within Tunnock’s own portfolio of products. The design would retain their marque of quality and draw on its wide brand appeal, but it would do so through the creation of a new product in celebration of the Games. By using the existing Tunnock’s brand, the new packaging creates an instantly recognisable but exclusive product.
Tunnock’s Medals encompasses a limited-edition carton housing gold, silver and bronze foil covered teacakes. The consumer can assemble their own medals from the packaging: the carton opens from the top like a presentation box with teacakes sitting on three pop-out medal fitments with ribbons underneath.
How does your work for Scotland Can Make It! relate to the notion of 'the souvenir'?
Souvenirs are little reminders of the good times. They remind us of special trips, events and people in our lives. Without the association of an event they become meaningless.
I wanted to create a souvenir that actively encourages participation and yet has an ephemeral quality that doesn’t clutter up our lives. In some ways this counters the notion of a keepsake but it is the happy memories of being involved that become the souvenir.
Does your souvenir create associations to a particular time, place or memory?
The Tunnock’s medals originally set out to be an affordable way to commemorate the Commonwealth Games coming to Glasgow in 2014 but more importantly they also invite the creation of independent events that call for their own celebration.
Every time you open a box of Tunnock’s medals you are presented with a decision; who deserves the gold medal? In this way, the merchandise itself requires people to share it and a reason to celebrate. This creates positive associations and memories in itself.
How does Scotland or Glasgow manifest itself in your souvenir?
Tunnock’s confectionery has already achieved a souvenir status of its own. Their bold iconic packaging and commitment to continued manufacture in Uddingston, East of Glasgow since 1890 has meant it has come to symbolize Glasgow and Scotland for many.
By working with Tunnock’s and keeping to a style of packaging that sits with their family of products; the Tunnock’s Medals are able to benefit from their easily recognisable Scottish heritage.
How important is it that your idea is developed and manufactured in Scotland?
For me, this was the most important part of the project. We have a great wealth of design talent and manufacturing capability across Scotland and anything that can help bring about further collaboration is to be applauded.
Manufacture is a challenging industry to be in right now with competition from further afield which can capitalise on cheaper labour and less stringent regulation. However, there is great opportunity in partnerships between design and manufacture to create products than can compete in desirability, efficiency and environmental impact.
I think it is essential that we support and highlight the manufacturing potential we have on our doorstep both for economic and environmental gain.
What is the cultural value of working closely with industry partner based in Scotland?
What is culture but the celebration of the skills and arts that make us unique and distinguish us from one another. We should embrace the abilities that we have, develop them and see where they grow.
There is also a definite geographical advantage to working with local manufacturers. Being able to meet and discuss and see the possibilities with your own eyes opens up the process and allows more opportunity for innovation.
We are all shaped by the context that we work within. It makes us who we are and it is important to encourage our differences as they form our identity. This is what makes us stand out, gives us distinction and what makes for interesting and desirable outcomes.
In an age of increasing global homogeny, I hope we continue to thrive and flourish in our independent ways.
In what way do you feel Scotland Can Make It! challenges or sits alongside the traditional idea of mass produced, low cost merchandise usually available to commemorate such large-scale events as Glasgow 2014?
I find it ironic and a little absurd that many souvenirs are not made anywhere near the places that they serve to represent. I’m glad it is a matter that is now beginning to be questioned.
My concerns are therefore not with mass production or low cost, both of which could be used to describe the Tunnock’s Medals, but with the environmental and economic impact of merchandise that is made on the other side of the world and the diminished responsibility we have towards the methods used in their manufacture.
In fact I believe that mass production can have its benefits in terms of efficiency and that low cost is not necessarily a pejorative term but must been seen as relative depending on the product and it’s environmental impact. Perhaps we are starting to see the emergence of real world value?
Projects like ‘Scotland Can Make It’ are valuable in drawing attention to these issues and will hopefully contribute to change and improvement in these areas for future large-scale events and showcase the potential we have close at hand.