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Case Study

The Cleveland Chocolate Co.

The Cleveland Chocolate Co., a handmade bean-to-bar chocolate startup, brought me on to establish their brand identity and online presence. The goal was to create a cohesive brand that reflected the company’s artisanal values and high-quality products, while also designing product packaging, merchandise, and an eCommerce website to reach and engage their audience effectively.

Services
  • Brand Identity

  • Product Packaging

  • Merchandise Design

  • eCommerce Website

eCommerce website for The Cleveland Chocolate Co.
Images pulled during research for The Cleveland Chocolate Co.

Freeform research for The Cleveland Chocolate Co.

Research & Planning

The project began with extensive research into the bean-to-bar chocolate market, including:

Target Audience

Food enthusiasts, social, sustainable, and health-conscious consumers, and gift shoppers

 

Peers

Other artisanal chocolate brands with strong visual identities and online presences

Based on these insights, I established the following design principles to guide the rest of the project:

Authenticity and Craftsmanship
Reflect the handmade nature of the products, and highlight the region where the cacao originated
 
Visual Appeal
Create a visually striking design to stand out in the marketplace
 
Functionality
Ensure that the eCommerce site is user-friendly and encourages purchases
Project Goals

Brand Identity
Develop a unique and memorable identity that reflects the handcrafted nature and quality of the products

Product Packaging
Design eye-catching and practical packaging for various chocolate products

Modern Design
Reflect the label's dynamic and eclectic brand
 
Content Management System
Implement a user-friendly CMS for easy updates

Chocolate bar packaging for The Cleveland Choclate Co.
Cacao tea bag labels for The Cleveland Choclate Co.
T-shirt design for The Cleveland Choclate Co.

Chocolate bar, cacao tea, and T-shirt designs for The Cleveland Chocolate Co.

Development

eCommerce Integration

The eCommerce website, built on Weebly, was designed to be visually appealing, easy to navigate, and to incorporate with their existing Square POS.


Key features included:

Home Page
An inviting home page with high-quality images of the products and a clear call to action

Telling the Story
Highlight company values and showcase awards, press and other recognition
 

Product Pages
Detailed product pages with descriptions, ingredients, and high-resolution photos

Shopping Cart & Checkout
A seamless and secure shopping cart and checkout process

Mobile Optimization
Ensured the site was fully responsive and functional on all devices

SEO Optimization
Implemented SEO best practices to increase online visibility and drive organic traffic

Brand identity for The Cleveland Choclate Co.
Color guide for The Cleveland Choclate Co.
Cacao pods illustration with brand colors for The Cleveland Choclate Co.

Brand identity assets for The Cleveland Chocolate Co.

Design

Brand Identity
I developed a comprehensive brand identity for The Cleveland Chocolate Co., which included a logo, color palette, typography, and visual style guide. The logo features strong typography set against a bold orange background, creating a refined and eye-catching look. The color palette is inspired by the vibrant hues of cacao pods, reflecting the natural ingredients and the handmade process of their products.

Product Packaging
The packaging design focused on both aesthetics and practicality. I developed a system centered around cacao pod illustrations, using simplistic line drawings set against bold splashes of color on a stark white background. This design effectively framed the brand and product details.

As they were launching with multiple bars and anticipated future growth, I created a versatile master box layout for the chocolate bars. Each box featured a designated area for individual labeling. This approach allowed us to print a single box design and use a thermal label printer to create custom labels on demand for new products.


Merchandise
Branded merchandise, including tote bags, mugs, and apparel, was designed to complement the overall brand identity. These items feature the company’s logo and cacao illustrations, helping to build brand loyalty and recognition.

Conclusion

The collaboration with The Cleveland Chocolate Co. successfully achieved all project goals, creating a strong, memorable brand identity and an effective eCommerce solution.

By focusing on authenticity, visual appeal, and functionality, the project demonstrates the impact of great design on business success.

Results

The brand identity and eCommerce website for The Cleveland Chocolate Co. launched successfully, leading to several positive outcomes:

Increased Brand Recognition
The cohesive and attractive brand identity helped The Cleveland Chocolate Co. stand out in the market

Boost in Sales
Translating their brick and mortar store into a user-friendly eCommerce site led to a significant increase in sales

Positive Customer Feedback
Customers praised the high-quality packaging and the easy shopping experience

Enhanced Online Presence
Improved SEO and a strong online presence resulted in higher website traffic and better search engine rankings

Book a free consultation with me

If you’re looking to elevate your brand and online presence, let's work together to create something exceptional.
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