Based in Berkeley, CA, TCHO is a craft chocolate maker that specialises in high quality, fair trade, organic ingredients. Working with cacao producers and farmers all across the world, their aim is not only to produce the very best chocolate, but to also improve working conditions, wages, and infrastructure with their partners.
Last year they also switched from 100% dairy based to plant based to appeal to an even wider demographic.
For a company doing so many good things, they should be shouting about it. Their brand identity needs to visually represent the richness of their story, and put their core values front and centre.
Make way for the rebrand which was designed by New York-based agency Super Okay.
The original TCHO packaging was designed by Erik Spiekermann and Susanna Dulkinys, who was also a Creative Director at ‘Wired’ magazine, a publication known for its radical editorial design.
This somewhat influenced the original chocolate packaging, as until TCHO arrived on the market, no other chocolatier had created something so edgy or ‘technical’.
Just look at the rigid logo and typeface for instance. It stood miles apart from other classic chocolate brands which usually opt for a much more smooth and fluid typography (think of Cadburys for example). In complete contrast, TCHO was cool and quirky – or at least that’s how it started off.
Over the years since its launch, the actual product had changed so much from how it first started that it no longer aligned with the product packaging. This created a confusing mix, as the brand was still trying to be unique, whilst increasingly becoming more mainstream.
As such, it needed to be repositioned and re-established as the cool, alternative chocolate brand that it originally set out to be.
“We rebuilt the brand from the ground up with an emphasis on breaking through the clutter of craft chocolate and reestablishing TCHO as a pioneer in premium chocolate.” – Super Okay project page
Surprisingly, they’ve chosen to keep their old logo despite the other changes that come complete with this rebrand.
And, it’s important to note that this is very uncommon in the world of rebranding, as logos are usually the first thing to be chucked in the bin! However, this doesn’t always lead to success and it’s not necessarily the logo that’s the problem.
There was nothing wrong with the old TCHO logo as it was very unique and eye-catching. As we’ve touched on, it stood apart from other chocolate brands with its jagged edges and square-like shapes. Whilst nothing drastic has changed with the old logo, it has been placed in an orange rectangular box.
Don’t get too excited, it’s nothing daring or mesmerising, but it does serve a good purpose!
The box turns the logo into a label, which stands out lovely against the background of the packaging.
Especially the choice of the colour orange, as it’s warm and vibrant. In fact, I can almost taste the fudge!
“We made The TCHO Orange more vibrant to pack a bigger punch on the shelf. The bold and bright colors across the packaging reflect the natural brilliance of cacao pods throughout the world. A custom drawn typeface highlights the notion of craft and celebrates the legacy of wood type.” – Super Okay project page
Packaging that’s bursting with flavour
Just like the orange label conjures images of warm, melt-in-the-mouth fudge, the other colours used across TCHO’s packaging are equally as inviting.
Each flavour of chocolate comes complete with its own vibrant packaging, whether that’s cool blue for ‘chocolate latte’ or berry pink for ‘born fruity’. They certainly jump off the shelf (a key component for any FMCG brand) and tell the audience what they’re buying before they’ve even delved into the flavour.
The bright orange label also works beautifully against any flavour of chocolate regardless of the background colour.
It’s solid, bold, and ties all of the different flavours together into one cohesive brand so you always know you’re buying a TCHO product.
Aside from the orange box and the type of flavour, the outside packaging is pretty minimalistic. But that’s what makes it so effective and visually appealing to customers wanting their sugar fix.
It doesn’t need any fancy images or icons, as the chunky name of each chocolate bar makes you more intrigued, and you want to peel back the different layers to reveal the chocolate underneath.
Now that we’ve explored what the outside of the bars look like, what about inside where the good stuff is?
Well, the inside of the TCHO packaging couldn’t be more different, and I’m a big fan!
In stark contrast to the simplicity of the outer packaging, the inside is bursting with pattern.
Featuring lots of brightly coloured, tightly-packed square shapes, this visually represents the cuts and curves of chocolate as you break it into different pieces.
It’s really clever, and the same shape is replicated on the chocolate itself which creates synergy between the product and packaging.
The concentric square shapes also reinforces the strategic positioning of TCHO Chocolate – ‘Fair & Square’ – a message which is applied across the product and the website. This plays homage to the ‘fair wages’ and living conditions that the chocolate brand provides for their cacao partners, whilst ‘square’ corresponds to the shapes of the chocolate pieces themselves.
It’s a message that has real meaning and beautifully sums up the ethos of the brand.
What the Fudge? TCHO Rebrand Explored
I’ve never actually tried TCHO chocolate or even heard of it until now, but that’s definitely going to change after this review!
I really like the direction that they’ve taken, and more importantly, the back story that makes this brand so unique in the first place. They have such a rich brand heritage, that it needed to be represented across their product range.
Your brand story is something customers really buy into it, and previously, they were missing a huge opportunity.
Whilst some might say they have played it ‘safe’ by not changing up their entire logo in the process, I think this was the right decision, and allows the brand to stay true to its roots.
And, if something is not broken, then why fix it? The only thing that will be broken is the chunks of chocolate when I tuck into my first bar of TCHO!
The only question is, which flavour do I try first?!
Now it’s over to you. Has TCHO sparked your creativity or has it left a sour taste in your mouth?
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Hi, I'm Amy, Content Strategist at Canny. In my day-to-day role, I'm responsible for creating content that gets you noticed and makes you stand out from the competition. Naturally, I love writing and creating engaging copy that brings your brand to life.