Arabian chocolatier uses long-lost tales to spice up food packaging

Kate Bertrand Connolly 1, Freelance Writer

May 24, 2018

2 Min Read
Arabian chocolatier uses long-lost tales to spice up food packaging
As the black-and-white outer sleeve is removed, Mirzam Monsters' colorful inner wrap reveals the truth of the tall-tale.

For Dubai-based Mirzam Chocolate Makers, spinning a yarn is second nature—especially when it comes to Mirzam: Monsters Collection chocolate bars. The packaging design for this artisanal chocolate uses evocative graphics and an interactive package structure to lure consumers with tales of sea monsters from the ancient world.

The monsters are from stories told by Arabian merchants in the days of the Spice Route; the stories were designed to scare competitors away from the maritime spice trade. Spice is a natural part of Mirzam’s brand narrative, as the chocolate is made with ingredients like cinnamon, cardamom and star anise.

Packaging for each of the five chocolate bars in the Monsters Collection features a different monster or mythical creature, and the graphics are layered, literally. The 70-gram bars are wrapped manually in the Mirzam shop.


They’re first wrapped in foil and then covered with a paper wrapper printed with a richly imagined illustration of a spice-filled ship sailing the night sea. Slipped over the colorful wrapper is a black-and-white paperboard sleeve die cut to reveal only the ship and the Mirzam logo printed on the paper wrapper.


Graphics on the peekaboo sleeve depict a monster about to devour the ship. When the sleeve is removed, the wrapper shows the same image as the sleeve, but in full color—revealing each monster as a trick of the eye created by patterns of stars in the sky and plant life in the water.

As consumers remove the sleeve, they see the reality behind the tale. And when they remove the wrapper and foil, they find a pattern of ocean waves carved into the chocolate itself. The story behind the tales of sea monsters is printed on the back of the sleeve. Both the sleeve and the paper wrapper are offset printed.


Backbone Branding designed the package graphics and structure and also created Mirzam’s branding, logo design and the wave pattern on the chocolate bars.


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About the Author(s)

Kate Bertrand Connolly 1

Freelance Writer

Kate Bertrand Connolly has been covering innovations, trends, and technologies in packaging, branding, and business since 1981.

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