In the immortal words of Forrest Gump, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get’. Unless, of course, you’re opening up beautifully designed chocolate packaging—then you know you’re gonna get a top-quality product from an aspirational brand.
In this article, we’ll dive into inspirational chocolate packaging trends, the practicalities of successful packaging design and how materials play a key role in establishing your brand in the marketplace.
Sweet like chocolate packaging designs
Like all brand designs, packaging plays a vital role in telling the story of what your brand is all about.
Brilliant packaging design not only has the power to stand out in a crowded marketplace but to stay in your mind for a lifetime (who else first thinks of Cadbury’s Pantone 2685C when you think of chocolate packaging?)
There are studies that show that packaging design influences taste perception, meaning if you took the cheapest chocolate in a supermarket and packaged it up in a beautifully illustrated design with heavy-duty papers, it would actually taste better than if it were packaged in a basic range wrapper. The power of design, eh?
So, for the purpose of this delectable piece, we’re going to take you through three main points of consideration when creating your chocolate packaging designs:
Chocolate packaging as an artform
The current landscape of chocolate packaging design sees a strong trend for beautiful illustrations and artworks that you won’t want to throw away even after you’ve tucked into your chocolate. Graphic vector illustrations, painterly strokes and on-trend contemporary graphic design give the impression of high-end chocolate worth the higher price tags.
Unless you’re living in a city like central London, these beautifully designed chocolate bars are probably not available in your local corner shop. These examples are more likely to be sold at gallery gift shops and boutique shops—perfect for presents and marketed at a higher price point.
The masters of packaging
The Mast Chocolate brand goes one step further to position themselves as luxury chocolatiers by curating their packaging with popular designers, and most recently their collaboration charity range in support of The Met by using classic works of art featured at The Met, pulling in high-end clientele and creating beautiful gifts as well as delicious treats.
Heavenly pastel packaging
Multipraktik’s design for Heavenly chocolate packaging manages to make childlike shapes and colour palettes slick and contemporary by incorporating well placed minimal typography.
Chocolate packaging dreams
Mirzam Chocolate Makers are known for their whimsical and dreamy illustrative packaging making them the perfect little treat for your loved ones.
The packaging for Gran Cruz chocolate is so enticing I’d almost rather it sat on my bookshelf rather than be eaten, and that’s saying something. The holographic lines that are carried from inside to out are so clever and hypnotising they are sure to stand out against the crowd.
Beautifully chic packaging
On the flip side to Gran Cruz, Coco’s chocolate packaging is famous for their bold and bright colours, graphic shapes and almost tactile mark making. So beautiful and chic, they wouldn’t look out of place framed in a gallery.
Community centred design
ARTHOUSE Unlimited is a charity that represents a collective of artists living with complex neuro-diverse and physical support needs. The artists work alongside instructors to create artworks which are developed into products including luxury chocolates for sale. The result is a beautiful and thoughtful chocolate packaging, which includes a postcard sized artwork so you can enjoy the design long after consumption.
Tile inspired patterns
Tile inspired design gives us the feeling of being on holiday without the price tag, a perfect gift for when you’re at the airport and forgot to buy that present you promised you’d get.
Delicate colour palettes
The contemporary, feminine and harmonising colour palette of Monostudio’s chocolate packaging design for Noia hints at classic chocolate packaging design by using purples and golds.
Mirza Agić’s chocolate packaging design for Pagedark uses minimal graphic design set onto beautiful painterly and dramatic landscapes to create a mature, high quality and almost masculine effect.
On the flipside to their mature landscape inspired designs, Mirza uses playful and bold illustrations to reach a different audience.
Similarly, Cacao 70’s packaging design uses an endearing child like design set against enticing slick gold type, appealing to all higher end markets.
Le Temps chocolate packaging design joins the trend for minimalistic graphic design set against standout illustrative designs. This seems to be the calling card for artisan, high quality and higher end chocolate.
Whilst designing chocolate packaging it’s easy to get wrapped up in the aesthetics and forget the practicalities of what you’re actually trying to say. Like any good design, the most important thing to remember is what the message is and how the design is meant to make you feel.
For example, if you’re designing a luxury box of chocolates it’s as important to create a sense of high quality sophistication as it is to include all of the ingredients and brand information.
If your main selling point is that your product is plant based and you want to target a vegan and eco-conscious audience, there are specific design tricks and tools to use to speak to your people.
Making a statement with monotone
Aysegul puts informative practicalities as the forefront of their design, using classic sans serif typography and keeping it monotone.
Following in similar footsteps of brands like The Ordinary, this design cuts out the maximalism of many chocolate packaging designs and focuses on the information at hand.
Packaging for the plant-based
Ticking all the boxes on for the eco-conscious, Hip chocolate packaging gets the message across in a clear but visually exciting way. Plant-Powered, plastic-free and visually stunning, what more could you want?
This particular chocolate box design uses a more classic and old-fashioned design to portray classic simplicity, whilst making sure all of the relevant information is included, and the chocolates are perfectly tucked away.
A more contemporary take on the chocolate box, this design gives a more contemporary and luxury feel, perfect for it’s elite small batch offering. The wax seal stamp is a nice touch to make it feel that much more special.
Mila Katagarova uses clear typography hierarchy to get the message across —chocolate comes first.
Eco-conscious colours and materials
Ach chocolate packaging design cleverly uses the colour green to subtly speak to the eco-conscious crowd. This brush stroke texture of the paint appears so tactile against the gold foiling, creators have designed this packaging to encourage you to reach out and buy it—clever.
Postcard style packaging
This Dalloway chocolate packaging design uses a similar layout to the popular minimal-graphic-design-set-against-illustration-trend, working together in unison to create a beautiful postcard effect, perfecting for gifting. You could almost put an address and a stamp on this chocolate bar and send it in the post.
Using photorealistic images of chocolate might not be the most contemporary and style led design, but it sure does get the taste buds going. Using this in tandem with a minimal colour palette and graphic illustrations of cocoa beans sets the tone for an enticing chocolate packaging.
Successful colour palettes
Mirroring the purples and golds of Cadburys, Beau Cacao ties their classic chocolate colour palette with Malaysian patterns to illustrate where their beans come from.
Loco Love’s design is almost as precious as Miss Trunchbull’s chocolate box. The ridges cleverly create a plastic free alternative to separating the delicate chocolates, and the pale pink and gold embossed lettering create a refined affect.
On-the-go but make it fashion
The on-the-go ‘singles’ version by Loco Love is the perfect little sister of the chocolate box, designed as a handy tear and go design, in that familiar purple and gold colour palette.
The final piece of the puzzle of great packaging is the choice of physical material that your design is printed on. Materials play a vital role in sending subtle messages of where your chocolate brand sits within the market. You wouldn’t want to fall at the last hurdle of designing for a luxury chocolate brand for your design to be printed on lightweight plastic. In the same respect, if the retail price of your chocolate is on the cheaper end of the spectrum, it wouldn’t make sense to use higher-quality materials like gold paper and heavy-duty cardboard.
Nothing quite says eco-friendly like the color green teamed with recycled paper.
The joyful mix of 1960’s psychedelic design and recycled paper packaging makes Endorfin Food’s chocolate packaging the perfect little treat for the eco-conscious.
Tony’s Chocolonely use of vibrant colours and protective gold inner paper gives you the fully Willy Wonka experience, sure to stand out in a crowded market place.
Last but definitely not the least amount of pure cocoa, Crude Chocolate’s mix of shiny metallic graphics and recycled packaging sends the message that this brand cares just as much about the aesthetic experience as it does about leaving an eco-friendly stamp on the planet.
Ending on a sweet note
It’s an exciting time for the world of chocolate packaging design. Whichever niche you’re targeting, the anti has been upped with this frerrero rocher pyramind of chocolate packaging examples. Illustrations, foiling, prints and cardboard packaging are paving the way for delectably tactile designs that tell target audiences exactly what they want to hear from their favorite sweet treat’s brand.
So, whichever technique you decide to take inspiration from, make sure you’re sending out the message your brand values most—alongside your choccy’s sugar content.