Guardians of the Forest

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Derrick Lin


Creative Agency: Resonate
Packaging Technologist: Nikki Withington
Structural: Mat Bogust
Manufacturer: Wrapology
Location: New Zealand
Project Type: Concept
Packaging Contents: UMF 25+ Manuka Honey
Packaging Substrate / Materials: Cardboard, Paper, Glass Jar, Wood Lid
Printing Process: Matte rose gold, gloss rose gold, matte green & clear gloss foil; debossing and embossing

Developing Comvita’s new UMF25+ Special Reserve Mānuka Honey packaging, called for strategic design that would incorporate the brand’s core values and allow for connectiveness between consumer and product.

From this stemmed the theme of ‘Guardians of the Forest’, a story of an unspoken duty of kaitiakitanga. ‘Kaitiakitanga’ is the New Zealand Māori philosophy for the concept and practises of guardianship of the sky, the sea, and the land. Comvita’s core values align with this guardianship philosophy and Comvita undertake this role diligently where our Manuka trees grow, the plants that bees make this particular honey from.

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Structurally, we wanted the box to unfold in layers, similar to walking through the forest. The treasured jar to be hidden in the depths and protected by the flora & fauna.

Key design considerations included the need for the pack to have premium gifting appeal, to embody the ‘beauty in simplicity’ and that it was ‘honest’, ‘approachable’ & ‘natural’. We wanted the consumer to feel as if they have been gifted something incredibly precious and an experience that can only come from the depths of the forest of New Zealand. The jar of honey inside is kept incredibly pared back, with minimal rose gold foiling on the glass jar; and a wooden lid to connect it again to the forest concept.

This theme called for rich dark green colourings, raw uncoated paper stocks, and impeccable ways of wrapping the premium papers in the construction of the box. The sides of the box were wrapped in a textured, pearlescent recyclable rose gold paper for added look & feel.

We worked hard with our manufacturer to push the boundaries with capabilities of premium finishes that would be solid & long-lasting but would have minimal contamination in end-of-life recycling. We combined touches of matte rose gold, gloss rose gold, matte green & clear gloss foil; debossing and embossing (even multi-level on the front) to create levels of texture on the paper; and purposely chose not to coat or laminate the paperstock. Each of these treatments were subtle but enough to pop and to add intrigue, leading to the reveal of the jar.

However, the biggest journey in the discovery of the honey inside, was a digital one. Comvita wanted to invite consumers into a portal and have them enjoy the product in a multi-sensory way. A QR code with a simple ‘WELCOME’ underneath is the central focus as you open the lid, transitioning the offline user experience to an digital engagement piece – a moment of harmony, connecting with consumers on an emotional level and welcoming them into the ‘OneHive’ community.

What’s Unique?
We wanted to portray a deeply rooted connection to New Zealand, how Comvita sat within that and that only true, authentic Manuka Honey can be sourced from New Zealand.

By layering the story and leading the consumer on a journey – both offline and online we have created a multi sensory experience with elements of surprise as well as emotional connection. Incorporating the importance of using packaging to tell the story of the Comvita brand and provide more information to the consumer in a (new) world where being relevant and engaging in a digital way is paramount.