Established in 2006, AIAIAI is an audio design company based in Copenhagen, Denmark, and specializes in headphones. Its flagship product is the TMA-2 — an evolution of the TMA-1 and both named after 2001: A Space Odyssey’s “Tycho Magnetic Anomalies” — that allows customers to build their own headphones from 18 different components that encompass speaker units, earpads, headbands, and cables, for a possible 360 combinations. You can configure your own or buy a pre-set. To accommodate the modularity of the product AIAIAI introduced a flexibly packaging system designed between their in-house creative department and local firm Kilo.
I was originally planning on posting this as a Friday Like but the concept and execution are impeccable and I thought it deserved its own Review even when it’s just a package for a single product for a smallish client.
The name of the minimal, matte-black TMA-2 headphones is based on the black monoliths of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Fittingly, the hyphen in TMA-2 is a symbol of connecting parts, i.e. words. Moreover, in ancient Greek it means ‘together.’
Consequently, a minimal yet playful, visual grid and pattern was applied on the box and the product part bags, resulting in a typographic concept that includes variations and the ability to evolve.
Hyphens, monospace fonts, and grids aren’t the most novel of graphic devices so it’s hard to take those basic elements and create something exciting, which is what makes this packaging system so great: the elements are as plain as it gets but their combination and execution is excellent and perfect for the product. The grid of hyphens can adapt to the different sizes of the bags, the box, and any other applications, and as long as they are not trying to spell Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious they will always have room to typeset any product category. I also like that the product categories are very loose in the direction in which they read: left to right as in HEADBAND or top to bottom as in EAR PADS.
The materials are also a wonderful choice, in particular the gray plastic bags that allow for contrast with both the black box and the white stickers, all with a lovely matte finish. This is a package that rivals any of Apple’s and one-ups them with a dose of actual personality. If I were in the market for a $200 headphone set I would buy this on the packaging alone.
Plans are in development for coming back to Europe in Spring of 2018 with the current top contender host city of Barcelona.