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Case Study

The Cleveland Chocolate Co.

Crafting The Cleveland Chocolate Co.’s Identity from Launch to Market Success

When The Cleveland Chocolate Co. approached me, they had a dream of bringing high-quality, locally made chocolate to their community. They needed a comprehensive branding solution that would take them from their initial launch through establishing a strong market presence. My partnership with them began at the inception of their business, focusing on building a robust and flexible brand identity that would reflect their artisanal values and appeal to a broad audience.

  • 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:

Identify Target Audience

I focused on food enthusiasts, social, sustainable, and health-conscious consumers, as well as gift shoppers.

Identify Peers & Competition

I analyzed 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.
Ensure that the eCommerce site is user-friendly and encourages purchases.
The Challenge

Building a Brand from Scratch

The Cleveland Chocolate Co. needed a cohesive and adaptable design system that could seamlessly extend across a variety of products. From chocolate bars to hot cocoa tins, nut butters, and teas, their packaging required a consistent visual language. Additionally, they needed an eCommerce website that was as engaging as their physical product line, along with branded merchandise to reinforce their identity. All of this had to be achieved within a limited budget, demanding creative and cost-effective solutions.

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.

3. Cost-Effective Labeling

To manage the variety of chocolate bar flavors on a tight budget, I set up an in-house thermal printer system. This allowed The Cleveland Chocolate Co. to print their own labels as needed, providing the flexibility to introduce new products without incurring high packaging costs.

4. eCommerce Website

Understanding the importance of an online presence, I designed and developed an eCommerce website that was both user-friendly and reflective of their brand identity. The site featured an intuitive layout, high-quality product images, and a seamless shopping experience, enabling customers to easily explore and purchase products.

5. Branded Merchandise

To further solidify their brand, I designed a range of branded merchandise. This included items such as t-shirts, tote bags, and mugs, which not only served as promotional tools but also helped build a community of loyal customers.

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.

The Solution

A Comprehensive Design System

1. Establishing a Visual Identity

I started by crafting a distinctive brand identity that captured the essence of The Cleveland Chocolate Co. This included developing a logo, color palette, typography, and imagery that conveyed the artisanal and local nature of their products.

2. Packaging Design

Creating a flexible design system for their diverse product line was a crucial part of the project. I designed packaging for their chocolate bars, hot cocoa tins, nut butters, and teas, ensuring a consistent and visually appealing look across all items. This also included the design of a master box for chocolate bars that could accommodate various flavors and types.


Working with The Cleveland Chocolate Co. has been a rewarding journey, showcasing my ability to create comprehensive design systems that support business growth and brand recognition. If you are looking for a freelance designer to build an eCommerce website and develop a cohesive brand identity, I have the expertise and creativity to bring your vision to life. Let's create something amazing together.

The Results

A Successful Market Entry

My comprehensive approach enabled The Cleveland Chocolate Co. to enter the market with a strong, cohesive brand identity. The consistent design system across their product packaging and the engaging eCommerce website helped them attract and retain customers. The in-house printing solution provided the flexibility they needed to grow and adapt their product line efficiently.

By partnering with The Cleveland Chocolate Co. from their initial launch, I helped them establish a distinctive and memorable brand that resonated with their audience. This case study highlights my ability to provide end-to-end design solutions, from branding and packaging to eCommerce and merchandise, making me the ideal choice for businesses looking to build a strong online and offline presence.

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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