Artisan Chocolatier Creates a Sweetly Crafted Booklet

William Mullan is the Director of Marketing at Raaka, the Brooklyn, New York-based bean-to-bar craft chocolatier. Believing that “chocolate is meant to be messy and fun and far more visually interesting than a gold foil box,” he has sought to tell Raaka’s unique story in a way that is not only pure and engaging but also, unexpected—much like the company’s chocolate.

A Rich Story

“It all started in 2010,” William recalled. “While most of our craft chocolate peers were focusing on isolating the flavor profile of their dark chocolate origins, we took it a step further and decided to build recipes that really brought out what we were tasting in each origin. Doing things like steaming fruity berry-like Peruvian cacao over a simmering Cabernet Sauvignon to bring out those flavors to make something fun.”

It wasn’t long before the folks at Whole Foods discovered these innovative chocolatiers at a local open-air market. “For us, it wasn’t just about developing interesting new flavor profiles,” William said. “We really wanted to participate in a better way of making chocolate and telling its story.”

Cover features the historic Raaka facility, located in Brooklyn, NY

Finding Our Sweet Spot

“As we grew, we knew we wanted to share more of our brand story while we were sharing our chocolate,” William said. “So we decided to create a booklet that we could insert into our gift boxes that was as unique as the bars themselves.”

“I leaned on my film school experience to shoot and lay out the pages in a kind of widescreen cinematic style that tells the story from fruit to bar.”

 

Going Big Screen

As it turned out, the creative challenge was only part of it. The custom size of the gift box— specifically made to fit the bars—also proved to be a bit of a stumbling block. “To make the booklet an integral part of the package,” William said, “we had to customize it and opt for a wider format.”

 

“Since I’m not a designer by trade, it was kind of daunting at first,” he admitted. “But in the end, I leaned on my film school experience to shoot and lay out the pages in a kind of widescreen cinematic style that tells the story from fruit to bar. Personally, I think the 9.5″ x 5.25″ format worked in our favor.”

Letting It Grow Organically

Even William admits his approach to designing the company’s gift book was a bit unorthodox. “I was very nervous about how everything would fit and flow from front to back,” he said. “So, I printed out several different versions here at the factory and cut them to size and stapled them together. Then I had everyone at the factory flip through and mark them up with their comments. We did the same thing with the proof.”

“When the finished copies finally arrived, we were really pleased,” William said. “Everything had come together. The images were so crisp, the smooth, uncoated stock felt great in our hands and it fit perfectly in the box. Like so many things we do here, it grew organically into something really wonderful. Now, in addition to using it in our gift boxes, we offer it to our wholesale partners for their shops and have it here in the factory for those wanting to learn more about our chocolate process.”

Raising The Bar

“People ask me all the time whether I’m sick of all the chocolate. I’m happy to say I’m not,” William said. “I find it endlessly fascinating because of the different flavors that we get from different beans and different harvests and different places. Combine that with the level of creativity of the makers here and you just know it won’t be long before we’re raising the bar again.”

Print Details

Saddle Stitch Booklet

100# Uncoated Smooth White Cover, 80# Text Uncoated Smooth White Pages, 9.5 x 5.25 Landscape Format

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