Harvey Nichols Sweetie Is All The Confectionery Range
by Andrew Gibbs on 01/04/2021 | 4 Minute Read
We have been working with Harvey Nichols to reimagine their private label food range since 2018. At the heart of all our work is the strategy to create 'a fearlessly stylish collection of gifts you can eat’, a design principle based on the idea of a fashion collection, where individual packs have their own character, whilst building a strong, over-arching brand look for high style and high impact in store and online (something that has proved crucial during 2020/1 physical shopping restrictions.)
Using the visual language of fashion rather than food and a brand voice that is daring, irreverent and brimming with naughty British sense of humour, we have applied our thinking and designs to many ranges already, with great commercial success.
In late 2019/20, our attention turned to the confectionery range and we were able to apply our philosophy to great eect, creating a coherent range across very disparate products at very dierent price points. Traditional hard sweets (candy), premium fudges, gummy sweets and chocolate covered fruit and nuts all came together. The name of the range? Harvey Nichols, Sweetie. Well what else could it possibly have been called, Darling? And the packaging? It needed to reect the dierent types of sweets, their dierent missions within the product and pricing hierarchy, from small £3.50 boxes of gummies to high end fudge selections that retailed at ve times that price and give real stand-out and desirability in store and online.
Alongside Sweetie, we worked on a range of six new chocolate bars. Harvey Nichols got together with award-winning cocoa maestro, Aneesh Popat, “the Heston Blumenthal of the chocolate world” to create these heavenly, unusual bars, with a range of dierent cocoas and taste proles. The packaging design needed to raise the bar to new heights. It needed to balance working within the existing visual framework of the HN food collection with giving the bars real stand-out and originality in the increasingly busy market of artisan chocolate bars, with very similar, often illustrative design cues.
THE ANSWER Our design solution for Sweetie was as eclectic as the range itself.
Traditional boiled sweets went into vibrantly coloured striped bags, that reect the product inside, as well as the nostalgia of the traditional British sweet-shop. Because it’s Harvey Nichols, we couldn’t help but subvert the genre with some characteristic copy on front of pack, so the Sherbert Lemons become “sour and explosive, like you on a Monday morning.” Alongside these, the gummy sweets, (Fizzy Bears, Strawberry Hearts, Cola Bottles etc) continue the trip down memory lane with their bright little boxes that are a sophisticated take on childhood designs.
At the higher end of the range, the Fudge Collection boxes deliberately take on the language of luxury brands with their beautifully crafted HN monograms and a naming system that uses numbers (forgive us, Coco!), and the chocolate covered fruit and nuts have become the confectionery equivalent of the Kelly Bag, with their gorgeous miniature handbag shape, tactile craft paper and luxurious bow.
High-fashion handbags were on our minds when we created the chocolate bars too. Rather than a traditional box shape, the pack has been newly engineered specically for the range and its slightly cushioned shape and tear opener is deliberately more reminiscent of a luxury clutch than a piece of confectionery, whilst the bold colour and gold embossed HN monogram give a hint of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’s Golden Ticket.
Even the bar itself is moulded in abstract shapes that reect the Harvey Nichols HN monogram. Rather than breaking o a square of chocolate, you can have half an ‘N’ or, if you're feeling cheeky, a whole ‘H’.
Again, Harvey Nichols’s unconventional, in-your-face brand language and tone of voice play a signicant role in the identity of the chocolate bars, which linguistically form an intriguing family. Or girl band. Which one will you have? The Milky Childhood Favourite One, the Moodiest, Most Mysterious One, the Naughty But Nice, Caramel One or the Silkiest, Milkiest, Meltiest One?
Sweetie was introduced to stores (when open) and online over the course of 2020 and the bars went live in October. Despite unprecedentedly dicult trading conditions, all the confectionery has proved to be a huge hit for Christmas, with several varieties having sold out already and having to be reordered way ahead of schedule. Both traditional and social media coverage of the new ranges has been tremendous and they have made a signicant addition to the reinvented Harvey Nichols food range.