Corporate Identity & Branding

Project Brief:
The Caribbean Fine Cocoa Forum, is a not-for-profit private limited company created to bring together the highly-fragmented regional fine cocoa sector to jointly address the many issues impeding its growth and development. 
Historically, the Caribbean export agricultural industry focused on sugar and banana production. However, these mainstay crops had in recent years suffered substantial decline due to, among other things, adverse changes to terms of trade and weather conditions. It was, therefore, important to identify alternative crops for providing viable livelihoods for the smaller farming communities and the rural populations they serve. Cocoa was an obvious alternative choice, as its production was once a thriving industry in the Caribbean.
I was contracted to develop a brand identity and tagline for the company.
Research and Analysis
Research showed that in the 1920’s, the Caribbean was once one of the top producers of cocoa. Trinidad is also home to the “trinitario bean”, a local cocoa strain that has won prestigious international awards for its fine flavor. However, locally, the cocoa industry was under-funded, under-represented, and not an inviting prospect for a farmer. The challenge was helping the client create a brand presence for a product that had been through numerous cycles of neglect.
Creative Process
The brand identity had to incorporate certain things. These included a tagline, some graphic representation of the cocoa, the company name, and the flags of all partner countries.
Unlike previous branding projects, when I started this one, I wanted to first focus on the tagline. I felt it needed to be powerful and encompass everything the client wanted to achieve. This was no small task, given that the body in charge of approvals tended to like long sentences rather than a clear message.  Eventually, they came around to the idea of using key words. The end result was “Revitalize, Retrain, Realize, Retain”. Each word symbolized the desired progression of the cocoa industry, and what the client hoped to achieve – Revitalize the industry, Retrain all stakeholders, Realize cocoa’s potential, and Retain the benefits.
The next step was the graphic representation of the cocoa. Out came the sketchpad and an in depth study of the cocoa began. Several designs later I realized two things; first, the cocoa pod and its tree are amazingly unique in their design and color; second, no one outside of the cocoa industry would be able to identify a graphic symbol of either. With this in mind, I started a second round of sketches, focusing on abstract representation. The chosen design highlights the texture and ridges found on a cocoa pod. Then came color. The client originally wanted to use green and brown, but I felt we needed more color. If you’ve ever seen a cocoa pod, you know they come in a variety of vibrant hues. The final logo uses a warm, rich palette. Finally, the addition of the client name and flags. The client loved the final concept. The symbol is strong enough to stand on its own, or it can be used in combination with the name.
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