Angus Hyland And The Pentagram Team Created An Instantly Recognisable Brand Identity For Cocoa Brand DeZaan

by Chloe Gordon on 07/27/2021 | 3 Minute Read

Olam is a food and agricultural business that supplies ingredients, feed, and fiber to worldwide customers. DeZaan is part of the group as the world's largest producer of cocoa products.

Pentagram and Angus Hyland created packaging, labeling, color palette, art direction, website design, and more for the cocoa brand to improve upon a more sustainable future and create a forward-thinking design.

The result is a readily distinct design for each of the different cocoa powders and a more modern wordmark and symbol. In addition, the front of the packaging features quirky illustrations paired with a striking blue top. Through the design, it's clear that this is a premium product with a well-respected history.


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Angus Hyland has created the brand identity for a new range of premium cocoa powder for Dutch manufacturer deZaan. DeZaan is part of Olam Cocoa, which is one of the world’s largest producers of cocoa products for industrial manufacturing. 

DeZaan approached Angus to help it create an instantly recognisable brand identity for its new small pack range (500g, 1kg and 5kg), as well as futureproof its packaging, and improve its sustainability. Its aim was to create a new audience for its cocoa products (including bakeries, cafes and hotels), while maintaining its existing trade sales through its distributors and online. The team was commissioned to look at the naming, packaging, labelling, colours, art direction, website design and communication approach for the new product. 

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With the name True Dark as a starting point, the team developed a naming system based on the colour and flavour profile and the suggested end uses of each specific cocoa powder. In addition to True Dark, the new range now includes Crimson Red, Terra Rossa, Carbon Black, True Gold and Rich Terracotta.

The design system needed to position deZaan as an expert in the industry, and demonstrate its premium quality, while making it easy to distinguish between the six different cocoa powders. 

The original deZaan logo featured a typographic wordmark and a ship in full sail – the company was founded in 1911 on the banks of the Zaan River in the Netherlands and the logo references its water-based history. The design team redrew and modernised the wordmark and the symbol, and also created a circular quality stamp featuring a windmill. Designed to signify deZaan’s premium brand status, it also emphasises its authenticity and Dutch heritage.

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The front of each pack features the name, the deZaan logo, a vibrant illustration and the foiled quality stamp, as well as tasting notes and the cocoa profile. The back of each pack features a description of the cocoa and playful icons indicating the applications that the cocoa powder is best suited to.

The design team created a sophisticated primary colour palette consisting of a rich deZaan Blue, black and white, with Olam grey, copper and copper foil used as complimentary colours. Colour also appears in the form of illustrations inspired by famous Dutch art scenes (all of which include boats) which wrap around the packs. Created by the Angus’s design team, the six illustrations have colour combinations that emphasise the different qualities of the cocoa powders inside and have a clear relationship to the name.

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The typeface Neutrif Pro was used throughout the brand identity. Inspired by classic geometric sans serifs and modernist style, it has carefully-balanced proportions and kerning that allows for a comfortable reading experience at all sizes.

Photography also plays an important role in the brand identity, and the design team commissioned photographer Angela Moore to capture a series of still life images. In addition to showing the cocoa powders themselves when they are wet and dry, there are beautifully-styled images of various delicious cocoa-based creations which appear with accompanying recipes on the deZaan website which was also designed by Angus and team. The website provides a new platform for the deZaan brand where visitors can get to know the ingredients, order samples, browse through a selection of delicious cocoa-based recipes and meet the chefs behind them.

Angus and team have created a brand identity for deZaan’s new range that leaves the consumer in no doubt that this is a premium product, crafted with care by a manufacturer with a rich and respected heritage.

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