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Serious Studio Seriously Knows How To Craft A Gift

by Casha Doemland on 04/02/2019 | 4 Minute Read

Each year, Manila-based boutique branding and design agency, Serious Studio crafts a special gift for their clients around the world as a way of showing their gratitude. With an ethos of "Make Sense and Look Good,"  they recognized this couldn't be just any ordinary gift. It had to be unlike anything one could find in a store or could create themselves.

So, they landed on hot chocolate, as it's warm and cozy, and decked it out in a box with the perfect collection of goods –  two stout mugs, a stirring spoon, hot chocolate mix, and a recipe – to help you reach the ultimate level of comfort.

Upon opening the rose gold embossed Seriously Good Chocolate kit, “Happy Capitalist Holiday To You!” heartily welcomes you. From there, you can find other witty comments like “A stirring spoon, for when you’re in the mood for some spooning,” under a cute illustration of a spoon surrounded by stars that show the attention of detail the team put into the designs.

Entranced by the magic created, we interviewed Serious Studio's co-founder and CEO Deane Miguel-Cruz to discover the process behind a gift that delivers pure comfort.

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

Unlike most of our branding and design projects, this was something we had 100% creative freedom with. We were our own clients.

While that's scary for some, this meant that we could push the envelope and only had ourselves to hold us back. That said, we went all out.

We started by thinking about the experience. Opening gifts is always a great feeling. Amidst all the gifts they receive under the tree, we wanted our Seriously Good Chocolate Kit to stand out. It was important to make that experience special and well-designed. This meant thinking about all the little details from the tasteful rose gold finish down to working with talented local artisans and chocolatiers for the right product mix.

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In terms of product curation, we didn't want to just give a tin of hot chocolate – that would come off too half baked. Being extra, this meant providing our clients with all the items necessary for that perfect cup of hot chocolate. Inside the box, you find a rose gold tin of hot chocolate, a black mixing spoon, stackable ceramic mugs, and a recipe brought to us by the universe.

We didn't want to settle for less. As designers, we made it a point to flex our muscles and show our full creative capacity across different materials and products. It was an uncompromised space for creativity and quality— we didn't hold back, and we're happy with what came out of it.

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Who wrote the copy, and why did you opt to get witty and fun with it?

We all collaborated as a team to write the copy. Our design and strategy teams always push for compelling copy because we know that sometimes it can make all the difference. For example, have you ever tried reading a shampoo bottle in the bathroom? In a perfect world, it should always be engaging and funny to read.

We try to inject a little fun into everything we do. In this case, we felt a mix of Seriously branded humor and holiday spirit was appropriate. It's certainly more memorable than your generic Christmas card plus matching recycled fruitcake.

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What pottery artist did you work with to create the stoneware ceramics, and why did you choose to have shorter, stouter mugs?

We worked with Mia Casal, a local pottery artist from Zambales, Philippines, who interpreted our design perfectly from our sketches. The mugs were designed to be stackable, our way of emphasizing our brand philosophy: Make Sense and Look Good.

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What makes a cup of hot chocolate so good that Santa is dying to visit?

Our hot chocolate was handcrafted with passion by Pam Cinco of Risa Chocolates. Single-origin chocolates made from cacao beans, which are sourced from the Philippine provinces of Bicol and South Cotabato. We're pretty sure Santa can't get that anywhere near the North Pole.

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Lastly, did your holiday gift indeed make the people you love feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

We got a lot of messages from clients about how much they loved not only the hot chocolate but the box itself. We liked that the packaging and the tin could be recycled after use because it hurts to throw gifts or their packaging away.  

There were even a number of people who contacted us asking how they could get a Seriously Good Chocolate Kit of their own. When you put a lot of heart and soul into something, it shows.

We'd like to think we achieved that with our Seriously Good Chocolate Kit. 

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