• Designing Our New Chocolate Bars

    We are going to launch chocolate bars this year, and Kickstarter made it possible. Thank you to those that have backed us and helped exceed our initial goal!

    The rest of this blog post will be about the design of the bars, but if you’d like to know more about the story of their conception check out the Kickstarter project below. There is still time to participate in the Kickstarter effort and be among the first to receive the bars. You can even take advantage of a few discounted options available to early backers.


    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/intriguechocolateco/pacific-northwest-inspired-chocolate-bars

    Visual Design

    Let’s talk first about the front of the package, which is the showpiece and where most of the design research was done. When you look at a chocolate shelf these days, it can be overwhelming, especially if you aren’t familiar with all the brands! How do you know which one you’ll like?

    We have a much smaller selection of chocolate bars in our shop which we curate based on what we like and what we are excited to share with customers. We think customers appreciate this approach, even just subconsciously. When a customer asks us to help them choose, we have a different reason to recommend each one and the enthusiasm just comes naturally. From customer questions, however, we found a few things to be true:

    Customers do not usually care about the company logo. This is the most common design choice of most chocolate bar companies (and for very important reasons like targeting customers already familiar with the brand or to compete in online shopping catalogues, etc). For our purposes and in our shop, we determined the logo was not how the customer made a choice of what to buy from the shelf and therefore decided to understate it on the cover.

    Color is king. We’ve been wrestling with this concept for years because we really didn’t want to believe the color had so much influence on us a species in food decision making process, but it’s a fact. Packages with the same background color are usually visually scanned as being the same item without variation, whereas differing colors prompt the brain to take a closer look. Packages with multiple colors have a bonus effect of the customer deciding, “you know, why don’t I get one of each!”  It’s a strange phenomenon but one we experience over and over. So for our bar designs, color is king.

    Picture graphics are beautiful, but not always meaningful. “A picture speaks a thousand words” is the expression, but are all one thousand of those words what you want to say? A customer that wants to enjoy a chocolate bar may not care so much about what a cacao pod looks like just like a bottle of wine doesn’t necessarily need to remind the customer that it was made from grapes. We embraced the idea that less visual information was a courtesy to the customer, and our hope is that the negative space is more attractive.

    Is the chocolate sweet or bitter? Customers who've had an unpleasant experience with dark chocolate tend to shy away from the word “dark” or the word “milk” on the box. Another customer may be specifically looking for the 60%, 70%, or 80%. While percentage is not fool-proof predictor of flavor, it does need to be stated.

    Flavor seals the deal. If a package catches a customer’s eye, he or she is then tasked with making a decision which usually comes down to flavor. Our flavors are pretty wild and difficult to imagine, so we needed to demonstrate our confidence in them, that yes these are actually delicious chocolate bars, we are proud, and you will love them. Our target customer is willing to try something new and then share it with friends.

    Box Design

    We have made a significant change in our packaging designs by moving from an envelope to a box. Because the bars are 100g (roughly 3oz, which is 2x-3x the size of some dark chocolate bars you see in the stores today), the edges were rather thick. For an envelope to expand enough to handle this width the size of the overall packaging started to look like an 8.5”x 11” sheet of paper! Way too big.

    Here’s how the new overall packaging design looks. (Note that print guidelines are included, so the yellow text / logo, the blue lines and pink text is markup, not final coloring.)

    Creative Request

    This new box gives more area for text on the inside of the box. In the spirit of “every flavor tells a story”, we’d like to include a short inspirational message that varies with each flavor. Do we have any creatives out there that have ideas? Post them in the comments below!

    Thanks, chocolate lovers! Again, the Kickstarter is still open, so be sure to head that way if you are eager to try these new chocolate bars and help us get them launched.

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