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Case Study: Hoffman’s Chocolates | Logo, Packaging & Retail Design and Branding

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By Dean Schwartz (SWAG Master): If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you know that the topics are often centered on custom promotional products (or as we like to call it… SWAG with Style). But recently, we took on a project that encompassed far more of our SOBO Concepts capabilities than many of you might have known we possessed.

Enter Hoffman’s Chocolates.

Hoffman’s is a South Florida-based chocolate retailer with an impressive – and delicious – brand heritage, not to mention an extremely loyal following in Palm Beach & Boca Raton (Florida). But its brand was a bit tired; outdated packaging, an aged logo, bland color schemes, and so on. It even carried over to their stores – the layout and design.

In short, any visual footprint for the brand was on the table as a reclamation project for our all-new SOBO SWAG Shops division.

As you know by now, we at SOBO have never been satisfied to simply cross off a checklist of tasks on a job and be done. We’ve looked at each project from a holistic point of view, asking questions about the target audience, the end goal of the work, the key points of the messages, and so on.

Sure, we’ve focused on custom promotional products, but our clients began to rely on us for numerous other things. And that’s because we approached every project from a strategic point of view that permeated to other parts of their business, something none of their other ‘vendors’ were doing. And we’ve become well respected for it, too (slight humble brag).

So when we dove in to our work for Hoffman, we did so head first. And this is what we’ve done (so far):

  • New logo design and identity guidelines. We picked a hexagon because it had a sweet connotation (i.e. honey comb) and elongated it to encapsulate the brand name within a dynamic shape. We went with a dark brown color that obviously conjured up images of chocolate but also was dark enough to work with other colors in the packaging (brown can be a tough color to work with). We paired it with a bright shade of blue (PMS 305, no it didn’t have to do with the fact that we’re from Miami). Studies show that blue in logos represents trust, honesty and loyalty – three words we felt were important for the Hoffman’s brand.

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  • New packaging – The first stage involved designing new sleeves for current boxes as well as new labels and stickers. Are they pretty? Sure. But they’re functional, too – everything is color-coded. Milk chocolate is a light color, dark chocolate is dark colored and milk/dark is a combo of both. Makes it easy for customer and staff to identify, right? We thought so, too. We also encapsulated the logo within a “shield” form so that we didn’t have to place the brown logo directly onto the different colored sleeves and hence, gave us more color options.
  • Paper shopper bags. Stripes are a major part of the new Hoffman’s brand identity, from the outside awning to accent walls in the store, right down to the paper shopper bags that we created. With these bags, we designed a subtle striped pattern on 3 different sized bags. The largest and smallest are blue with the Hoffman’s logo in brown, while the mid-sized bag is brown, with the Hoffman’s logo in blue. 


  • Store design. Yes, we redesigned the whole store. We first created different design directions from which the client could choose, as thought starters. They eventually settled on the Celebration theme. Our idea was to create a concept that encouraged people to see Hoffman’s not just as a place to go to buy chocolate during the major holidays (i.e. Christmas, Valentines day, Mother’s Day, etc.) but to celebrate every day life, as well (i.e. your daughter getting an A on a test, you getting a promotion, winning the soccer game, etc.). Celebrate also came to life via marquee lights on the store ceiling. Our first store, which opened on Las Olas, in Ft. Lauderdale in October 2014, was a quick overhaul of an existing candy shop. Our next shop, scheduled to open in March 2015, will be a realization of our full concept. All of this couldn’t have been done without our great partnership with husband-wife dynamic duo, Ruben and Katie from Errez Design.

  • Pop-up shops and kiosks – To take advantage of the holiday season, Hoffman’s opened numerous pop-up shops and kiosks. For one of them, we took over a jewelry shop at the famed Sawgrass Mills shopping mall. For this shop, we tried to recreate the store look by creating a 3D wrap for the wall to give a brick look, similar to the stores, trying to maintain a unified look no matter where you get your Hoffman’s chocolate.
  • Uniforms – We used white, cotton/poly, soil-resistant button downs with embroidered sleeve logos. We also created a custom printed apron and custom shaped name tags that people can actually write their names on, giving employees the chance to leave their own creative mark on their look, rather than an all-out stuffy, corporate look.

sfl-hoffmans-chocolates-grand-opening-on-las-o-007It was and is a lot of work, though we’re proud to say that the looks speak for themselves. But the thinking and strategy is what we’re most proud of. We’re ready to do it for you, too. Ready for a retail branding overhaul? Call us today at 888.752.0432!

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