How we created an unfair advantage for an honest chocolate brand
TCHO was born nearly 15 years ago out of a shared obsession to reimagine the world of chocolate from the ground up.
Their VP of marketing, Josh Mohr, came to us in early 2020 asking us for help with their ambitions to radically transform their business: to become a Certified B Corp, to go 100% plant-based, and to create bold, new flavors for their beloved bars.
They needed a partner to create a whole new TCHO brand worthy of their mission. One who would be there for the ride and push them as much as they were about to push themselves.
Tone of Voice
Mari Juliano 📷
Jessica Sarkodie 📷
Pearl Jones 🍌🥞🌮
Colophon Foundry 🔤
BGGY Studio 🖥📠📡
The back story
TCHO (“Cho”) is a pioneering craft chocolate maker from Berkeley, California, with a 15- year legacy built on transparently sourcing and fusing high-quality, fair trade, and organic ingredients to create delicious chocolate.
Design legend Erik Spiekermann created the original branding. Still, with an important change of direction, TCHO needed a modern brand identity that paid homage to its design roots but with a distinctly fresh take.
A bold new platform
For a business doing so much right, TCHO had a difficult time capturing the richness of its story. Armed with the brand’s history and inspired by its dedication to its values, we created a strategic platform that allowed them to tell it. ‘Chocolate. Fair & Square’ was born. This became a central idea for the brand, succinctly capturing both the product and the brand values in a single sentence.
(Re) Building the brand
Premium chocolate is a busy category. We needed to break through the clutter of craft chocolate and reestablish TCHO as a pioneer in premium chocolate. With its bright colors and playful, plainspeak, to a custom type and a photo direction we dubbed “Flavor Lust”, the new TCHO brings adventure and joy to discerning chocolate lovers.
Telling the TCHO Source story
As much part of TCHO’s chocolatey origins as the bars themselves, the TCHO Source program is one of the most impressive endeavors we’ve seen in business. The integrity of their supply chain shows a true commitment to improving the industry beyond the production of a quality product.
Working with photographer and Ghana native, Jessica Sarkodie, we captured the ABOCFA farmer cooperative based in southern Ghana. It’s known for producing the highest-quality traceable cacao in the region.
Sharing the story of TCHO Source and the supply chain they’ve worked so hard to create over the years was a rich chapter of the brand story we needed to tell.
A fresh brand toolkit
In a category lacking originality, our goal was to convey the ideas of craftsmanship and flavor exploration in a way that felt fresh.
We made The TCHO Orange more vibrant to pack a bigger punch on the shelf. The bold and bright colors on packs reflect the natural brilliance of cacao pods throughout the world.
A custom drawn typeface celebrates the craft that’s so vital both to their bars and the legacy of wood type. Its asymmetrical letters with whimsical cuts and curves provide rhythmic visual cues to entice chocolate lovers.
The art direction is elegant and simple, championing only the delicious ingredients of each bar.
The perfect foil
The original TCHO packaging was clad with a gold foil pattern that had got lost over the years as the brand evolved. The foil represented the history of chocolate’s early days as currency in Central and South America. It’s a subtle touch that we wanted to big-up in the new design. A concentric square pattern was created to reinforce the strategic positioning of Chocolate. Fair & Square.
A richer website
The site design was driven by two goals. Firstly, to empower direct-to-consumer sales and secondly, to bring people closer to the brand through storytelling that showed TCHO’s dedication to craft, flavor and sourcing. The end result is a warm and inviting experience that brings the new TCHO brand to life online and has the ability to grow and adapt as they embrace a fully plant-based future.