March 24, 2024

The Collaborators

Strategic food and drink brand design consultancy The Collaborators has worked with 2020 MasterChef finalist Sandy Tang and her business partner David Solomon to reposition and rebrand their range of chilled world dumplings – Journey To The West. The brand update aims to elevate world dumplings from starter and side-dish status, to become a whole new category of easy-to-cook, authentic meal makers.

Growing up in Macau, dumplings were an important part of Tang’s heritage, whilst Solomon’s extensive travels have introduced him to many different styles of dumplings in different countries. United by a love for these joy-filled dough parcels, the duo founded Journey To The West. Its mission: to make authentic dumpling recipes from across the world more widely accessible in the UK.

They approached The Collaborators with the question: “If filled ravioli can create a category, why can’t fresh dumplings?” The consultancy’s brief was to help make world dumplings as ubiquitous and beloved as fresh filled pasta, starting with an overhaul of the visual identity and packaging.

There were obvious challenges to overcome, as The Collaborators’ founder, Jayne Noblet explains: “We knew we had to create separation in the minds of buyers and consumers between Journey To The West dumplings and the usual Japanese or Chinese takeaway dumplings that are often relegated to starters or side dishes. We also understood how important culinary authenticity is to Sandy and David, so we needed to find a way to balance this with the mainstream appeal and meal-maker convenience of filled pasta.”

Noblet continues, “It became very apparent that we were looking at creating a new category of ready-to-cook fresh dumplings; offering all the same benefits as filled pasta, but with the added excitement and exploration of world food.”

The team at The Collaborators were inspired by ancient tales surrounding dumplings. Dating back as early as the 2nd century, they’ve been adopted and adapted by many different cultures with recipes and folklore passed down from generation to generation. Today, across the world, dumplings are part of people’s everyday lives; made and shared with love and enjoyed in a variety of tastes and styles, each one reflecting the unique character of the people and places who created them.

These were stories that The Collaborators knew would appeal to people who appreciate new and authentic food experiences – the open-minded confident cooks and food lovers, who are prepared to take quality short cuts when time is tight. As such, they positioned the brand as a delicious and exciting way to expand people’s foodie horizons, drawing on the cultural heritage, diversity and joy of dumplings.

It soon became apparent that there was a mismatch between the new positioning and the original name, Journey To The West. By describing the historic journey of dumplings rather than the consumer experience, it was also a little confusing.

The Collaborators recommended a name change to inspire time-poor, experience-seeking shoppers. Their solution combined associations of Dim Sum, with the essence of what dumplings represent around the world: love, care and nurture… Love Sum was born – a playful pun that also serves as a call to action.

Inspired by the big idea ‘Legendary Dumplings’, which also became the brand strapline, The Collaborators’ design team sought to capture the folklore and cultural importance of dumplings, as well as reinforce the brand’s quality credentials. It has resulted in a brand world built around story telling. Through imagery and language, the team has created a vibrant visual identity, that’s rich in discoverable details.

As a key brand touch point, packaging needs to create shelf-impact and make dumplings feel like an easy choice for a main meal. The ‘legendary dumplings’ are the stars of the show – always shown as a complete meal solution, with an accompanying recipe printed on the inner sleeve of the packaging. In addition, each pack tells the folklore behind the dumplings using bespoke illustrations and a discoverable supporting narrative.

Additional assets, including postage stamps and a post mark, reference the brand’s previous incarnation as Journey to the West, whilst adding a nostalgic travel journal feel for use online.

Mike Hemming, Commercial Director at Love Sum said, “We are delighted with the re-brand and the development and transition into the Love Sum Dumplings brand. Feedback from the trade on the visibility and impact of the packs on shelf is universally positive. Pack design, photography and copy really help the shopper to understand what we make and how to enjoy our dumplings at home.”

Designer : The Collaborators

Location : Bristol, United Kingdom


Client : Journey To The West