On Saturday, February 20th, Anderson Design Group won the top honors at the Nashville Advertising Association’s ADDY Awards for the Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Company’s logo, packaging, and promotional posters. Joel Anderson, designer and creative director worked with Scott Witherow, owner of the start-up Southern Artisan Chocolate company to create a brand identity that looked as classic, hand-crafted, and delicious as the all-natural, slow roasted, small batch gourmet chocolate. As a start-up venture, funds were very limited. Joel was not even sure he could commit to taking on this project and do a great job on such a small budget. And his talented team of designers were already booked on projects for other clients. But after tasting the amazing chocolate, and seeing the passion of its creator, Joel decided to take on the project himself. Diving in head-first, he figured out ways to create a killer logo, packaging for 8 different products, and 3 limited edition Spirit of Nashville posters on a shoestring budget (and in exchange for lots of free chocolate, which he did share with the other designers on his staff!) Reflecting on his decision to take on Olive & Sinclair as a client, Joel said, “An artful, creative branding project like this—for a product so unique and delicious—doesn’t come around very often! As a designer, illustrator, and owner of a design firm, I wanted to work on this, no matter how limited the resources were. From day one, I recognized the potential for some great portfolio pieces. And as a small business owner myself, I wanted to see Scott succeed after all of the work, risk and passion he has poured into his fledgling company.”
It started with the logo. Scott gave Joel some scrawly sketches... he wanted an old-time logo that felt like it was done a hundred years ago. So Joel went to work on creating a logo that said Chocolate at first glance, and did so in a fancy, yet humble artisan-crafted style. The logo was finished just in time to be entered into PRINT Magazine’s Regional Design Issue. It was selected to lead off the Southeast Section of one of the world’s most prestigious design journals. This was the first hint that the O&S campaign would be a memorable one.
Once the logo was done, Joel and Scott started to think about packaging. The chocolate bars needed a wrap label that would set the product apart from everything else in its category. Scott had initially asked Bryce McCloud (a Nashville-based print maker, illustrator and designer) to create the package art. But once Joel had nailed the logo, Scott thought it would be best to let Anderson Design Group produce the packaging to keep the look consistent. Joel loved the way Bryce had rendered the word CHOCOLATE in one of his packaging concepts. So Bryce’s hand-lettering and some bits of his original art were built into the final design for the flagship flavor (67% Cacao.) Joel and Scott worked for weeks to create a full line of package variations for the other flavors. The product started selling like crazy as soon as it hit store shelves. Joel reflects, “People would tell us that they bought the chocolate because they liked the packaging so much. In fact, they saved the label because they couldn’t bear to throw it away after they ate the chocolate! Fortunately the product tastes even better than the packaging looks!”
After the chocolate was selling well in stores, Joel thought it would be a good idea to celebrate the South East’s best chocolate by creating 3 new posters for the Spirit of Nashville Collection (Joel’s line of vintage-looking prints that celebrates Nashville’s history and charm.) In exchange for more free chocolate, Joel created 3 prints, each illustrating a different feeling that O&S chocolate evokes: two swans gracefully drifting in a chocolate pond, two enraptured lovers chest-deep in chocolate, and a shapely diver plunging head-first into a pool of chocolate.
Joel summed it up this way: “We entered several pieces of the campaign in the ADDY Awards, hoping to win something and add a bright spot to a brutal year of challenging economic woes. To win gold ADDYs was a thrill. But ot win Best Of Show was something I never would have imagined! This project is an example of how effective branding and design can truly make a difference in the success of a product or business launch. It underscores the importance of collaboration between the designer and client, but most of all, it illustrates how important it is to be totally passionate about what you do.”