From its discovery 4,000 years ago, chocolate has captivated humans with its healing and emotional effects. Mayans praised chocolate as the drink of the gods, creating the first version of “hot chocolate” using chilies for flavoring. The Spanish sweetened cocoa seeds with sugar and honey to create a concoction fit only for the most wealthy. By 1615, the popularity of chocolate spread across Europe. With the start of the Industrial Revolution came the invention of the first chocolate press in 1828.
From there, pioneers like Nestle, Hershey’s, and Cadbury found a way to bring chocolate to the masses, revolutionizing the industry and allowing everyone a taste of luxury. Today, chocolate is a 22-billion-dollar-a-year industry, with Americans consuming nearly 12 pounds per person per year. But health and socially conscious consumers are demanding innovation for their tasty treat and turning to a new trend in craft and artisan chocolates to find it.
A decade ago, there were only a dozen small businesses investing in the premium chocolate market. Today craft chocolatiers are popping up all over the world; there are more than 480 to date. Modeling themselves after craft beer and specialty coffee shops, artisan chocolatiers typically make small batches of high-quality treats that serve as a decadent alternative to mass-produced products. Every craft chocolate brand detail is experiential and designed to leave a lasting impression.
Covet Chocolates, Luxury In Every Detail
Newly established Dubai-based Covet Chocolatier aims to set themselves apart from other artisan chocolates. By meticulously sourcing everything from ingredients to packaging, these chocolates evoke a handcrafted, yet luxurious vibe. Their chocolate making process involves organically sourced ingredients and old-world craftsmanship.
Using an artisanal ‘bean to bar’ method, Covet uses the finest organically grown cocoa beans from around the world to deliver premium-quality chocolate to a discerning customer base. The company’s production process is nothing short of remarkable. Covet’s cocoa beans are handpicked, roasted, cracked, sorted, winnowed, ground, conched and tempered to perfect the flavor and texture of the chocolate. Chocolate like that deserves to be wrapped with care and artistry.
Craftsmanship Meets Artistry
When it came time to design the packaging for Covet Chocolates, the owners tapped award-winning freelance graphic designer and illustrator, Meng Zhang, via social media. It’s easy to see why. With a philosophy of “good designs are simple yet detailed,” Zhang has created a portfolio of stunning brand and packaging designs for clients. His ideas for Covet are simply spectacular.
Says Zhang, “Covet’s branding and packaging reflect the company’s organic, natural philosophy while emphasizing the concepts of craftsmanship and small-batch goods made by hand. The illustration on the front cover depicts chocolate-making as an art form. While detailed and refined, it is also minimalist and striking in a way that aligns with the company’s purist vision and requests for a luxury look and feel.”
Sustainable Packaging Mirrors Organic Ingredients
Zhang continues, “The use of colored pencil mirrors the company’s commitment to using organic ingredients sourced from nature. An illustration of a bird passing an organically grown cocoa bean is subtly incorporated to introduce an animalistic element together with a poem in the form of a letter engraved as the backdrop intended to be read by any observant customers. It is no coincidence that the material used for the outer package is a recyclable paper stock that echoes the brand’s natural approach.”
Zhang took his time in choosing the right paper that would ultimately enhance his designs. Like with chocolate, design takes time. “I enjoyed the whole process. Receiving the paper samples, two rounds of product samples…feeling the texture and selecting the range, each step helped me visualize the outcome,” says Zhang.
Ultimately he chose Neenah® Blotter Papers for the packaging wrap. “My client has big ambitions for launching their product internationally. We want to introduce a luxury brand to the market. I came up with design ideas and solutions to bring the product and packaging to life. They are quite happy with the outcome. The look of the paper with the Pantone colors is actually like leather, which definitely gives it high-end appeal,” continues Zhang.
Personalized Experience with Functional Design
A delightful takeaway brings creativity, luxury, and sustainability to a whole new level, leaving chocolate connoisseurs with a lasting impression. “What sets the packaging design apart from other bean-to-bar chocolate brands is that customers can personalize the illustration (the armchair at the front) using the 18 unique pattern stickers supplied in each package. This part of the packaging can be torn off and repurposed as a coaster or bookmark.”
Through this unique design feature, Covet intends to create a more sustainable, less disposable approach to packaging and raise brand awareness through product differentiation. The idea behind this lasting feature is for Covet customers to keep part of the packaging as a functional tool instead of throwing it away (which is what happens to most other chocolate brands.)