Quanta redefines luxury chocolate packaging. We’re looking to bring the crafted-ness of traditional chocolate packaging into the modern world while also turning the traditional chocolate square on its head.
Chocolate is tasty. Duh, right? Well, chocolate’s pervading popularity is indisputable—in 2015, the confection recorded worldwide retail sales around $100 billion, while every U.S. citizen consumed an average of 5.5 kilograms (approximately 12 lbs) worth of chocolate a year (1). Yet chocolate as a design model remains to be perfected, particularly when considering chocolate packaging. Our research into chocolate companies—local, national, and international—reveals that chocolate packaging, especially for artisan and bean-to-bar products, often focuses on the concepts of travel, craftsmanship, and luxury.
However, this attention towards extravagance can create issues in the design of packaging. For instance, in our conversation with Eric Parkers of Somerville Chocolates, we learned that he had to pay particular attention to the placement of his labels such that he didn’t cover the design, while also ensuring that the label met health standards and consumer expectations (e.g.: the year the beans were harvested, the batch number, and other FDA requirements). Furthermore, in our literature research, we noticed that modularity remains a problem for chocolate packaging, especially when considering ways to share and taste chocolate in a clean, efficient manner. Thus, we became interested in creating a form of chocolate packaging that can distinguish itself from competitors and exude the sense of luxury, while tackling current problems in labeling and modularity.
While the rectangular bar is a popular option for most chocolate companies, due to its ease of molding, production, and wrapping, it poses an obstacle in our attempt to optimize the chocolate’s modularity—oftentimes breaking the chocolate can be imprecise and messy. Inspired by companies like Chocolate Paints and Chocolates with Attitudes, we tried to find a design that allowed the chocolate pieces to be pre-separated while maintaining some novelty and luxury. After brainstorming various options, we settled on the shape of test tubes. The size of test tubes allows the chocolate pieces to remain a reasonable serving size (production value), while the concept provides enough flexibility for an overall luxurious packaging design (novelty). Furthermore, in case of expansion, we could easily expand our design model to other scientific containers, such as Eppendorf tubes.
In terms of the packaging, we considered the presentation of the box that would collect all the tubes and the individual tubes themselves. In the case of the tubes, we wanted to include a label that would be simple but also impress the idea of luxury. Differentiated by a sample of different colors that evoked an emotion by taste, we wanted luxury with a tasty experience. Our labels, to illustrate the history, composition and dexterity, were created with simplicity and sleekness in mind that is unfounded in the chocolate label industry today. And yes, we still include information on the labels like year of beans harvested, batch number, and place of origin. Doesn’t this sound like the experience of having a glass of wine? We think so!
We considered various box designs, such as test tube racks, before settling on the simplest idea of laying the test tubes flat side-by-side in a box. This would allow for the labels on the tubes to be easily visible and for quicker access to each piece of chocolate. The gray box was inspired by a box of cigars; we buy a box of cigars with luxury in mind, so why not chocolate? There’s a humidor type effect to keep the chocolate crisp, tasty, and shiny.
Using B.J. Fogg’s and the product experience design frameworks, we configured a product that will trigger an emotion of luxury from uniqueness, and much more than just aesthetics. Instead of going for the brand chocolates, often found in rectangles and mass appeal, we think the physical design of the tubes and the label makeup will create an experience similar to having a rich glass of wine.