timeline

January–April 2021

details

Branding, Package Design, Illustration

tools

Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop

TONGWAN

TONGWAN, or "sweet gold" in Thai, is a brand of palm sugar that aims to promote the craft of traditional Thai desserts by bringing this unique ingredient to an international audience. Palm sugar has a distinct caramel-like aroma that is key to making the beautiful and tasty desserts Thailand is known for. The practical package resembles a dessert wrapped in banana leaves. It is also designed with sustainability considerations using paper with no adhesives and the potential for a second life.

Recipe Card

For many consumers, unknown ingredients can be daunting and unapproachable. This package is meant to help people learn through experience how wonderful palm sugar is. On the backside of each TONGWAN sleeve comes with a beginner-friendly recipe for a Thai dessert in both English and Thai.

Second Life

The triangles forming the box can be arranged in many ways for different purposes. One of these is as a stand for recipe cards. Consumers are welcome to use the card that comes with the box, or even recipe cards from their own family backgrounds.

Research

International vs. Domestic Market

Most Thai people buy palm sugar in bulk, often in unmarked packaging directly from local producers. There, fancy packaging could be seen as excessive. Meanwhile, in Canada, there aren't many brands to choose from, and the basic packaging makes it so that only people who have used it before will know what it is. There is space in the international market for a new approach.

The Container

Round vs. Polygonal

The most common shape of palm sugar is round discs, but a cylindrical container would be more difficult to transport in bulk. In my search, I looked at cookie packaging. A common theme I found was the use of triangles to prop up the disc and form a polygon that was more easily stored. From there, I developed my own modular triangle container. It took three iterations to make a net that could hold without glue.

Developing the Brand

Dessert First

Palm sugar is a relatively unknown ingredient in the international sphere. That's why it's important for people to know right away how it can be used. The pattern on the outer packaging is a variety of colourful and enticing Thai desserts.

Dessert... within a dessert?

I was inspired by the way traditional sweets are wrapped in banana leaves and secured with reeds. The "reeds" also became a functional element as a handle.

Wordmark

The lettering in the wordmark is also inspired by the Thai script, namely the numerals.

Barcode

Barcodes don't have to be boring. Here, I snuck in the familiar motif of Thai china that you might recognize from Thai restaurants.

Wanna chat? Send me an email at benya@sutyanyong.com.

© Benya Sutyanyong 2021