El Metate, Chocolate de México - Packaging design

 

As a child, I was always drawn to beautiful and colourful packaging. I loved to go grocery shopping with my mother because then I could see different sorts of products. My mom would ask me which coffee she would buy and it was my job to select one. Somehow, I always went for the coffee that showed something particular; I would see a small detail or drawing on the packaging that I would find interesting or an unusual colour combination that made the product pop out.

 

As I became older, I started to look at perfumes, candles and cosmetics but I was never really interested in the content of the product. I preferred to imagine a story about the product by simply looking at the packaging. For example: when I would look at a shampoo bottle from the Body Shop, I imagined a wild humid jungle, full of fresh fruits and flowers hanging from trees with a freshwater pond and colourful birds flying away in the background. 

 

For this particular project, I wanted to show my love for packaging by designing 3 different packagings for chocolate; chocolate with dried red fruits and nuts, black chocolate and white chocolate. As I didn't want to make a redo from an existing chocolate factory such as Cote D'Or, I decided to conceptualise my very own chocolate brand, El Metate.

september - october 2017

The Brand name 'El Metate' is a Spanish word that translates as a mealing stone or quiery. It is a three-legged curved stone tablet that has been used by Mesoamerican cultures (such as Mayas and Aztecs) to grind mais, beans but also cacao. These mealing stones were usually used by women while preparing food. This is how chocolate was traditionally made in Mexican culture. Nowadays the mealing stone has been replaced by industrial machines to make chocolate, but the metate is still very popular in Mexico (to grind mais and make tortillas).

 

I wanted to use the metate as a logo since this specific tool has been groundbreaking and utterly important in Mexican history and culture. The metate is also very powerful, raw and natural, just like the cacao beans that are used to make chocolate. I chose to incorporate the typical curving metates have with the roundness of the cacao bean. I opted for a sober and clean logo that wouldn't give everything away in one second, but gives an idea of what the brand is about. 

I usually do not see a lot of interesting packagings when grocery shopping. I feel like the most chocolate companies do not want to take risks therefore choose for the colour brown for the wrapping, which makes their product even more difficult to stand out. For this project I wanted to show an alternative.

I used birds to refer to different kinds of chocolate instead of using shades of brown. The bright colourful background with the birds makes the product stand out and intrigues the customer. The toucan (and it's surrounding) represents chocolate dried red fruits and nuts, the crow for 100% black chocolate and the swan for white chocolate.

The label on the back of the packaging gives the customer further information about the brand 'El Metate' but also about the ingredients and nutritional values.

On the front of the packaging, the customer will get to know the base information about the product. The customer will not only see a logo and brand name but also a tagline, 'Chocolate de México', showing where the product has been produced. On the coloured part of the front label, the customer reads the following information about the product: which kind of chocolate (black, white or with dried red fruits and nuts), the name of the chocolate plantation and it's precise location in Mexico.