design_council

All the information you will find on this page is courtesy of the Design Council, the national strategic body for design.

How hard can it be to sell chocolate? After their 1991 launch, Craig Sams and Josephine Fairley, the husband-and-wife team that founded organic chocolate company Green & Black’s, found it surprisingly hard, pigeonholed as a niche product and hidden in specialist health stores. But after a redesign of its brand four years ago by design consultants, the chocolate maker’s sales grew by 61% a year, in a market which was growing by just 1.8%.

When Green & Black’s approached the design consultants in 2002, the company’s virtuous credentials (it sourced cocoa beans for one of its chocolates under FairTrade agreements with such countries as Madagascar and the Dominican Republic) as an organically produced brand appealed to the ethical shopper, but didn’t help in the mainstream market.

Their brief was to reposition Green & Black’s so the brand was seen as luxurious and premium, rather than merely worthy. The design team felt the new packaging needed to emphasise Green & Black’s sophisticated cocoa-rich taste. So their design put the product’s intense chocolate hit centre-stage, creating Green & Black’s very own special Pantone brown colour.

The flavours in the range are indicated by coloured bands on the packaging, while layered type communicates quality and luxury. The organic mark is used as a supporting message, indicating good taste and premium appeal, rather than defining the brand as it once had. As Green & Black’s product range has grown to include biscuits, drinking chocolate and ice cream, the distinctive design has been successfully and coherently transferred.

Since this work for Green & Black’s, sales have increased by some 789%. In part, this has been helped by the brand’s greater presence in supermarkets: Tesco now stocks 15 variants of the company’s bars, where once it sold just three. In less than four years, Green & Black’s has seen its market share soar from 1% to 7.4%, such a boom that the brand was recently snapped up for around £25m by confectionary giant Cadbury Schweppes.