• Consumer & Luxury

Isso - Challenging confectionery traditions

Men generally don’t give confectionery gifts to other men. Especially just before heading out to a football game or a night on the town together. But one Berlin designer thinks that with the right product, this could all change!

Love, birthdays, get-well wishes and celebrations of weddings or new babies are the main themes that confectionery presents are associated with. However, Berlin designer Katrin Warneke wanted to do something different. “I wanted to discover other themes,” she says. “And provide new opportunities for giving presents and recognition.” And so Warneke took on a new challenge – confectionery aimed at men. “I wanted it to be a bit ironic,” she explains. “But if some men took it seriously, well, that would have been all right too.”

Working with national confectionery chain Hussel, Warneke came up with the brand name isso for the series – a typically male German expression meaning something like “The way I’ve described it is the way it is, so there’s no need to discuss it any further.” Or simply: “It is as it is”. (“Es ist so”.) Warneke transferred her ideas to the logo, of which the rhinoceros silhouette symbolises for her “a tough skin with a soft centre,” but could, for many men, be associated with a tendency to knock down everything that gets in the way. Each of the six items in the isso series has its own name. “You might give a box of Respekt to someone if you wanted to say that you thought they had faced up to a problem well,” says Warneke. “Or you might give Yeah! to someone before going out for a night on the town.”

These new ideas needed new packaging and Warneke decided on a simple untreated box with an obliquely cut printed wrapper: “The shape and size resemble a DVD box so that you could put the sweets on your shelf and not have to share them,” she explains. Using BillerudKorsnäs Light, the packaging company Richard Bretschneider folded a hollow-walled box with the uncoated side on the outside and used the coated side of the same cartonboard for the wrapper. “We used a fairly light 250 gsm board and we found it very stable,” says sales representative Oliver Schrutt. “With most other products we would have had to go for a heavier material.”

But the cartonboard did offer a few challenges. “The brand name is embossed in bronze on the untreated board and we had to try several different pressures and temperatures to ensure that it came out exactly as we wanted it,” says Schrutt. In addition, the wrapper on most of the items is dark blue with a brightly contrasting colour for the product name. “It’s not easy to get such a smooth and even finish over such a large area,” says Schrutt. “And we had to experiment for some time to find bright colours that wouldn’t fade and were safe for food.”

One of the things that Warneke likes about the untreated board is that it’s a bit unpredictable. “It gets a bit darker where it’s not covered by the wrapper,” she observes. “Some people would immediately be worried about that, but for me that fits the “It is as it is” aspect of the brand – it shouldn’t be too perfect.” For Warneke, the key to bringing the brand alive is to bring together contrasting experiences such as the play of uncoated and coated cartonboard. Adding to this effect is the fact that the blue ink looks completely different depending on whether it is on the treated or untreated board: not too perfect but convincing – just like a man.

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