Overall it took me and my friends almost 18 months to create the label we have now. I would never imagine that small changes to the recipe can influence the design so drastically. In the end people from Estonia, United Kingdom, Italy, Ukraine, and Bali took part in this project. Here’s the story…

When I started I knew nothing about product design. I had a vision of a honey dessert that everyone would enjoy and that would stay on the shelves of Harrods. It took me a year to find out to myself that what I am doing is more than just honey with berries, that I don’t really want to sell it in elite supermarkets, and that my target audience is completely different from the one I imagined in the beginning. I also learned that a food label should have a name of the product, contents, nutritional information, name and contact details of producer, storage requirements, and best before date. Together with a good friend of mine Maria we started working our way to have the best label for such a product.

Honey dessert label experiment

When we started I was still experimenting off my flat in London making tiny batches of 5-10 little jars that I was getting from eBay when necessary. This turned to be one of the first problems: it is really hard to create a label for unknown jar. And I didn’t have a supplier yet.

The bigger problem however was that I had no idea what product I had, I just knew the contents. Is it honey with berries? Or is it honey dessert? Or should I call it a honey delight? Why not berry delight?

Because honey is the main ingredient I thought it should occupy most of the space on the label. Honey can be raw, filtered, and heat-treated. I am using only raw honey which means it might contain impurities like wax or other byproducts.

As the product evolved I decided to call it soft set honey delight. It wasn’t just honey with berries anymore, it was… a delight. So we changed the label completely and started from scratch.

Soft set honey delight label experiment

While still sketching the main label I gathered all the requirements that a product should have on a label and created one myself so that I could legally sell it.

Business card and jar labelAccording to the local law every item sold in Estonia must have its contents written in Estonian language which is why it is duplicated on both. One is also required to put the storage conditions. Generally you can store honey at temperature range -10 to +40 Celcius. For the creamed honey however it is best to store it at +10 to +14C which is specified on the final label. Our local food and health authority was of an immense help with all these requirements and optimisations.

Each jar has a unique number called here the lucky number. Not only it allows me to track all my jars, it also allows customers to read the story of their jars. In the near future there will be a form on the website where you could put the number and get the creation history: who made it and when, what are the ingredients and where did they come from, locations and names of the farmers that grew or harvested them.

I was planning to print this label on a recycled paper the size of a business card and use the other side for something  funny. This turned to a collaboration with a London-based artist Sara Pitta. She created a set of really cool illustrations. I love these cards so much that I still use them for every jar I sell.

blueberry business card

Eventually in the summer 2015 I contacted Anton, another good friend of mine, to speed up the process with the label. The whole project took about four months to complete. In the process I also had a joy to work with a talented illustrator Ksenia from Kyiv, Ukraine who created these watercolor illustrations.

Watercolor sketches of berries

As she was drawing berries, Anton has created a mockup so we could position all the elements and figure out what can be added, what can be thrown away and how does it look overall.

Mockup label

There are several reasons why the label is positioned as it is. None of us really liked the way our jars looked and we wanted to hide the neck. This also made these jars stand out on a shelf. To open the lid you simply slide the label down and enjoy the dessert.

The final result that you can order online in the shop is not exactly what I was looking for, but I am no less proud and excited with the work done by all these people. After all things change and evolve, we find out new problems while running the project.

 

Mellis Berry range of desserts