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There's no doubt Britain has a sweet tooth. And the proof is in the (chocolate) pudding.
Between 2020 and 2021, UK households ate an average of:
- 56 grams of filled chocolate bars per person
- 55 grams of solid chocolate bars per person
Safe to say, little effort must be exerted to convince the UK to eat chocolate. What's a little more challenging is getting someone to choose yours.
That’s where a thoughtfully designed chocolate box can make all the difference. And we're here to inject some design inspiration.
In this article, you'll:
- Appreciate the psychology behind packaging and why it's important
- Learn about seven chocolate gift box design ideas
- Understand why a consistent brand identity trumps even the best designs
If you sell chocolates or design chocolate boxes, this article is for you.
People buy chocolate based on feeling more than taste
The basic building blocks of chocolate are the same. And yes, many have their own preferences when it comes to flavours. Some prefer mint, others milk, and the more health-conscious lean towards dark chocolate.
Yet, with so many chocolates on the market, the initial lure before purchasing isn't based on the taste. It's the packaging. They know what taste they want. It depends on what packaging convinces them their chocolate will hit the spot.
The design of the chocolate gift box wields a powerful influence over purchasing decisions.
Shoppers are naturally drawn to visually captivating packaging. They interpret it as a direct reflection of chocolate's inherent value and quality.
The reality is no matter how old you are, you prefer shiny items. And so do your customers.
In fact, 72% of respondents to a survey admit packaging influences their purchasing decisions. 61% become loyal customers if they perceive it to be premium.
It’s no secret we buy based on emotion and use logic to back it up.
Well-designed packaging can instantly attract attention, evoke emotions, and communicate the essence of the product. If done right, the evidence shows people will buy without a second thought — literally.
And if we’re not eating chocolates, we’re buying them for others.
The local market for chocolate gifts is worth about 1.8 billion pounds, according to data firm Circana — making chocolates one of the most popular gift items among Britons.
That’s if the gifter can resist not eating them beforehand! A survey from Nestle revealed that 43% of Britons eat the chocolate they were supposed to gift.
And although we’re going through a cost-of-living crisis, we’re not going to give up our chocolate expenditure. In an interview, Susan Nash, trade communications manager at Mondelēz, said:
"Through challenging times, consumers often review their discretionary spending. However, they are less likely to reduce their spending on confectionery gifting."
The stats suggest that, although pockets may be leaner, we’re willing to invest in the right chocolate for ourselves or as a gift to someone else.
That’s why it’s important to get your gift packaging right. Here are eight ideas.
1. The vintage elegance
Vintage elegance incorporates a subdued and timeless colour palette. Tones such as soft creams, pale pinks, dusty blues, and antique whites are common. Hints of gold, silver, or muted metallics add a touch of luxury.
The typography in vintage elegance designs is often reminiscent of classic fonts such as serif or script fonts. These fonts exude a sense of sophistication and nostalgia.
Vintage patterns like damask, lace, toile, or delicate floral prints are often used as background or border designs.
Intricate and ornate motifs (filigree, scrolls, or Victorian-inspired illustrations) add intricate detailing.
Quality materials personify vintage elegance. Thick, textured paper or cardstock gives the box a luxurious feel. Satin or silk ribbons in muted tones are used for closures and embellishments.
For an extra touch of elegance, try incorporating man-made diamonds. These lab-grown diamonds have identical qualities to their mined counterparts. Yet, they're sustainable and budget-friendly.
You can use these to add a touch of sparkle to your chocolate boxes or even introduce them as a surprise within your gift. They offer a unique way to express affection and admiration.
Also, consider foil stamping in gold or silver — and if you feel like adding even more — hand-tied bows or custom wax seals.
Nothing says luxury like a one-of-a-kind gift in a custom box.
Who should adopt vintage elegance:
- Chocolate gift boxes for special occasions
- Premium chocolate brands
- Gourmet chocolate brands
2. Modern minimalism
The hallmark of modern minimalism is sticking to a two-tone colour palette. You can add a third colour as long as it's used as an accent to emphasise an element in the packaging.
It's best to use clean and easy-to-read fonts (i.e. sans-serif). You want to go for a non-nonsense approach with minimal embellishments.
The idea behind the imagery is to showcase the chocolate in a way that tells a story, like:
- Product-centric. A simple shot of the chocolate.
- Decent use of negative space.
- Detailed close-ups.
- Good lighting.
Modern minimalism is about avoiding clutter. The story behind your chocolate is easy to communicate, even from afar.
It relies on the philosophy that less is more, emphasising:
- The beauty of simplicity
- Clean aesthetics
Who should adopt modern minimalism:
- Chocolates with a single unique selling proposition (USP). It wants to communicate above anything else — such as a key ingredient.
- Any chocolate brand that wants to be the desired choice for a household for regular consumption.
3. Festive packaging
Some important dates on the calendar are highly chocolate-focused (not that people need an excuse for chocolate):
- Valentine's Day
To appeal to audiences who celebrate such occasions, introduce limited-edition packaging. It should go beyond sticking a picture of a heart on your existing design.
Festive packaging often features a bold and vibrant colour palette that includes:
- Traditional festive colours such as red, green, gold, and silver
- Colours directly associated with the occasion
These colours evoke nostalgia (e.g., a Coca-Cola Christmas advert) and get people in the mood to celebrate.
Your main concern is to respect cultural sensitivities and avoid offence. If you're unfamiliar with the celebration, a little research goes a long way.
Something common with all festive packaging is glossy or metallic materials. These enhance the sense of luxury and celebration. Foil accents, glitter, or embossing may be added for extra visual appeal.
No matter what the celebration, last-minute gift shopping is a common theme. You've made your chocolate gift box stand out.
But what if the customer wants it as quickly as possible?
Link arms with services that offer same-day delivery. That way, you can ensure that your gorgeous chocolate gift box arrives at its destination quickly, just in time for a proper celebration.
4. Natural and botanical beauty
Earthy and natural chocolate packaging often has shades of green, brown, beige, and pastel hues. These colours represent a sense of nature and tranquillity.
The central design element of this packaging is botanical illustrations. Add delicate drawings of flowers, leaves, vines, and herbs to decorate the packaging.
It adds sophistication and a connection to nature.
Recycled paper or cardboard with a slightly textured finish may convey an eco-friendly and rustic feel.
Labels or tags may feature handwritten-style text to convey a sense of artisanal craftsmanship.
Who should adopt natural and botanical beauty:
- Healthy alternative brands such as vegan chocolate or those who opt out of using some of the unhealthier ingredients.
- Chocolatiers put a greater emphasis on being organic and ethical.
- Sustainability-focused chocolate brands.
5. Personalised packaging
Personalisation creates a memorable brand identity.
Create a one-of-a-kind gift experience by:
- Giving customers the option of adding names
- Sharing special messages
- Saying thanks or sharing your company's story with them.
This level of personalisation comes with a variety of typography, colour palettes, and graphics. Each package is unique and heartfelt.
Whether celebrating weddings or birthdays, this packaging style adds an extra layer of sentiment. It makes each box a cherished and meaningful keepsake.
Who should consider personalised packaging:
- Online chocolate gift box retailers who allow customers to submit personalisation requests
- Specialists in occasion chocolate gifting.
6. Packaging that tells a story
Storytelling through packaging in chocolate gift box designs is a powerful tool. You can engage and connect with your customers on a deeper level.
It goes beyond merely enclosing chocolates. It weaves a narrative that creates certain emotions and memorable experiences.
Use storytelling to communicate:
- Inspiration behind unique flavour combinations
- Decade-old family recipes
- Origin stories
- A funny visual pun
Storytelling invites customers to become a part of the story and is a great way of being unique — the story belongs to YOU and can't be copied.
7. The unboxing experience
Enhancing the unboxing experience of chocolate box packaging to embed your brand in people's core memories. Those first 5 seconds of indulgence are your first impression!
Although people rip off the packaging in a standard chocolate bar, they're careful when opening a chocolate gift box.
Make the unboxing experience feel like they're unveiling the Mona Lisa or Statue of Liberty for the first time.
Consider the following:
- Tissue papers that increase the anticipation of what's underneath once the initial box is unlocked.
- Bows that present the chocolate gift box as a prized asset for the recipient only.
- Glossy fabric ribbons that are just waiting to be pulled.
Unwrapping presents is a massive part of gift-giving. Make the experience as unique as possible.
8. Create a unique brand identity
Above anything else, your packaging needs to be unique. It shouldn't look similar to something else. When people look at it, they should immediately know it's your chocolate.
Brand identity and affinity take time. But if you're consistent with your designs, you'll get there.
And if you need some help, you can enlist the help of branding and design platforms, such as Tailor Brands. They make it easy for chocolatiers and gift box businesses to create a unique brand identity. The goal? To help you attract your target audience.
Some important things you can get help with:
Logo creation: Design a custom logo to match your brand's personality.
Stunning visual assets: Create visual assets like packaging labels. These assets help make the chocolate gift boxes look better.
Consistent branding: Make sure all design elements match. This shows professionalism and reliability to your customers.
By leveraging these design expertise and tools, you can create a brand that leaves a lasting impression.
What chocolate gift box design works for me?
In the world of chocolate gift boxes, the art of design is more than just aesthetics.
We hope you're inspired. But before jumping into designs, try to answer these questions in as much detail as possible:
- What emotional response do we want to evoke in customers through the packaging?
- What unique narrative or message do you want to convey through the packaging?
- What is the purpose of the packaging (e.g., gifting, retail display, to sell online)?
- How can packaging enhance the unboxing experience for customers?
- Who is your target audience?
- What is your brand identity?
The answers will influence your choice of colours, materials, and fonts.
What boxes and packaging options will you use to stand out in this delicious industry?
Meet Arif Bharakda, the writing wizard passionate about marketing and technology. Almost as much as football, video games, and superheroes! When he's not scoring goals in the world of digital marketing, you'll find him levelling up in video games or dreaming of being a superhero himself. Arif's knack for simplifying complex topics makes him your go-to guy for B2B, and he's here to save the day, one article at a time!