A place where Minnesota's design community can blow its collective mind about creative expression in every medium from websites to landscapes, chocolate to bicycles.

Theo Chocolate

Posted: January 8th, 2008 | Author: Todd | Filed under: chocolate, opinion, packaging | Comments Off

Chocolate
The organic and fair trade certified, 75% cacao Ivory Coast bar has a rich, roasted, vaguely fruity, flavor that compliments the packaging nicely. When you pause to consider the flavor it keeps changing on you. Kind of exciting really. It’s smooth but not cloying with a pleasing bit of texture that a mega-factory process would eliminate. The only drawback is that the bar breaks into only six segments which makes it harder to part with one. But, your friends will thank you if you do.

Design
Logo and packaging designed at Kitten Chops in Seattle by Marta Windeisen who coincidentally goes by the name Zaara. Judging by her lush illustrations she was influential at Starbucks where she worked for five years. She wrapped each of four different bars in paper wrappers with rich, warm, painterly, abstract designs adorned with simple hand lettering. A nice change of pace in a field that often can’t resist ornate, gold foil, swooshiness in an attempt to look fancy and historically significant.

The website Design by Seattle’s Design for Wine and Food is not of the same caliber as the packaging I’m sorry to say, but it does at least provide a little insight into Theo’s deal. We’ll have to hope they let Zaara illustrate and art direct the next version.

Online
Theo Chocolate

Location
3400 Phinney Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98103
206 632.5100 phone

Available in a number of Minnesota locations including the Wedge and Linden Hills Co-ops. More locations here


Charles Chocolates

Posted: January 7th, 2008 | Author: Todd | Filed under: chocolate, opinion, packaging | Comments Off

Chocolate
This bar is Caramelized Crisped Rice. They don’t snap, crackle and pop but they’re still crunchy and make for a novel texture. 65% cocoa is enough to make the back of your tongue tingle but not too steep for the uninitiated. It’s good, smooth cocoa and comes in a cool box and interesting flavors which makes it a good one to give as a gift or bring to game night.

Design
Each bar in the collection is wrapped in chocolate brown with a different line drawing and color box. Nice and simple it has a sense of whimsy while also providing a usable system for recognizing your favorite at a glance. It doesn’t try to be fancy, just humble and stylish. The box is pretty handy if through some minor miracle you don’t eat the entire thing in one sitting.

Templin Brink Design in San Francisco did the design work. The office has since split up and now Joel and Gaby do work as Hatch Design and Tomorrow Partners respectively. Both have portfolios full of fantastic work. The website is not quite as clean and fun as the packaging but it’s not way off base and is pretty usable.

Online
Charles Chocolates

Location
6529 Hollis Street
Emeryville, CA 94608
phone: 510.652.4412

Available in Minnesota at Corazon (Washington Avenue or Lake Street). Find other locations here.