Prototypes & Comps

Spotlight: Health and Beauty

Posted: May 5, 2014

The idea fermented in the back of the mind of Urban Decay’s executive creative director, Wende Zomnir, for many moons. How would it be possible to fit a complete makeup kit into the smallest possible package but still make it handy, durable, and stylish?

Zomnir referred to her concept of a miniature all-in-one package as a versatile “Walk of Shame Kit.” Fully realized, the accessory kit would be ideal for—discreetly put—the morning after the night out. The idea finally saw the light of day for the 2003 holiday season, and reappeared this past holiday season in new Smokin’, En Fuego and Heated options.

Only 2-3/4” long, Urban Decay Hot Box Mini Makeup Kit is a smooth-edged compact case that mimics the shape and feel of a propane lighter. The small kit contains lip gloss, eye shadow, mascara, concealer, and even a small mirror. The kit unfolds cleverly after you flip open the top, revealing all the make-up essentials needed to get a girl through the morning.

The Hot Box package won the 5th Annual International Package Design of the Year Award (IPDA) at the HBA Health and Beauty America Show, the culmination of a collaboration between Urban Decay’s Zomnir and Jim Thorpe of HCT Packaging, with illustration and outer package design by Garrison Smet of J3 Productions.

Wende Zomnir proudly takes the title of “Ms. Decay,” having helped shape Urban Decay’s edgy vision from the start alongside founder Sandy Lerner. Though the Urban Decay office has a creativity-enhancing atmosphere with few if any rules, Zomnir thought her miniature make-up kit idea was dead in the water after Urban Decay was acquired by a larger interest.

One day, after persistently tabling her mini-makeup kit concept yet again, she surprisingly received the proverbial green light. “It’s something I’d been wanting to do for a long time,” Zomnir recalls. “All the while, HCT Packaging had been helping us refine the idea.”

HCT’s Thorpe had been tinkering with the mechanics and the material construction to make it work like Zomnir envisioned. The original prototype was eventually reduced another 20% by the time it reached its final shape. “The challenge was to shrink the components without losing too much of the product,” Thorpe explains.

There are certain rules of engineering Thorpe just couldn’t break when reducing the size of the components. ABS plastic needs a minimum wall thickness to maintain durability, and they were pushing those limits. The design of an sturdy internal hinge was also instrumental in making the whole concept work in the real world, creating a fun and functional kit that would withstand some morning-after punishment.

Urban Decay started when Lerner introduced her own line of make-up in shades of green and purple simply because there were none available at the time. Urban Decay also turned a few heads when they gave creative names to the beautiful hues of America’s urban landscape—Roach, Smog, Rust, Oil Slick, and Acid Rain. Today, Urban Decay is not just known for unusual colors and names, but also for innovative and well-researched formulas.