COCO Chocolatier Creates A Virtual Art Gallery With Their Latest Packaging

by Casha Doemland on 04/15/2019 | 5 Minute Read

Edinburg-based COCO Chocolatier was started in 2004, and nearly a decade later the current owner Calum Haggerty purchased the company, slowly evolving them into the brand you see today with the help of Glasgow-based design studio Freytag Anderson in 2018.

Calum's goal for the designs was to create a platform allowing emerging artists to not only showcase their work but to package the new product range. From there, Freytag and Anderson created a label system to differentiate their offerings with white labels for milk chocolate and black for dark chocolate.

To learn more about how Freytag Anderson helped create such stunning designs, we spoke with creative director Greig Anderson.

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Walk us through the design process. How did you go from start to finish on this project?

COCO is very good at making chocolate, but they needed a clear brand position—their own unique space in a competitive industry. Initially, COCO was using geometric stock designs to wrap its chocolate bars. We felt that the relationship between art and chocolate could be built upon as a real point of difference at the heart of the brand.

From this idea, we developed the brand position “The Art of Chocolate.” Each COCO product is wrapped in specially commissioned original artwork by both established and emerging international artists. We felt it crucial to credit individual artists and artworks front and center on the product creating a centrally positioned, gallery caption inspired, label construct. The rear label provides additional information about the artist, with a link to a dedicated bio page on the COCO website. It was also important to make consumers aware of the brand’s defining ethical credentials. We did this with a set of pictograms designed to work alongside the logo and brand which feature on the reverse of all products.

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Why did you opt to wrap each of the products in commissioned, original artwork from different international artists?

Championing all forms of art and especially, emerging artists is something we were keen for COCO to promote and support right from the beginning. Initially, due to budgets, we couldn’t pay what we thought was appropriate, so we chose to use stock images, however, as things progressed with the business the intention was always to commission artists, and create a bespoke look and feel for the products.

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COCO’s team had already begun the process of selecting the core 80g bar artists prior to our involvement, and we helped to select the artists for the Christmas and Easter seasonal bars. COCO’s positioning has also opened up opportunities to collaborate with art institutions such as Tate, V&A and National Galleries Scotland. We have developed a simple co-branded label format for such collaborations.

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How did you choose the artists who would contribute, and did you give them guidelines for the designs?

There were no specific guidelines for the artwork that the artists produced, they were all approached as they had a unique and contrasting style, and the intention was just for them to create something that they themselves would be happy to have featured on the products. Each artist was visited by Calum and team members from COCO during the artwork production process, and films and photography were created to capture them, their workspaces and the creation of the artwork.

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Tell us about the decision to have both chocolate bars and tubes.

The core range is produced in 80-gram bars as they have the tooling and molds in-house to produce, form, wrap and package the chocolate. They also make a 30-gram bar designed to look like miniature versions of the larger bars.

Tubes are for drinking chocolate and are made from 100% recyclable materials. As we continue to develop a range of new products for COCO, we look to use options with the best environmental credentials and reusability.

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Have you had the opportunity to try their chocolate? If so, do you have a favorite?

It’s one of the perks of working with clients who produce physical products. As a studio, we're lucky to work across a variety of food and drink sectors such as craft beer, healthy snacking, specialist coffee roasters, natural skincare and, in this case, chocolate. Part of the creative process is getting to know our clients and their products. This usually means finding out how they get produced, understanding the craft behind them and inevitably getting to sample them. It's work, honestly!

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In terms of a favorite, what is the saying about choosing between children? The first time we walked into their factory in Leith and the smell of chocolate hit our noses we were hooked. All the products they produce are fantastic and with such a variety of unusual flavors. It's tough to pick just one, so we’ll take some creative license and pick both the Isle of Skye Sea Salt Milk Chocolate and Passion Fruit Dark Chocolate.

Although, its no coincidence any samples we get don’t hang around the studio for long!

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