Branding, Package Design, Illustration
Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop
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.
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.
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.
Most Thai people buy palm sugar in bulk in unmarked packaging directly from producers. There, fancy packaging could be seen as excessive. Meanwhile, in Canada, there aren't many brands available, and the existing basic packaging makes it difficult for curious people to identify and learn about the ingredient. There is space in the international market for a new approach.
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.
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.
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.
The lettering in the wordmark is also inspired by the Thai script, namely the numerals.
Barcodes don't have to be boring. Here, I snuck in the familiar motif of Thai china that you might recognize from Thai restaurants.
© Benya Sutyanyong 2022