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A Belgian brand with a French heritage. At home in Japan.

Debailleul. A Belgian brand founded by a French pastry chef. Marc Debailleul’s speciality was to take traditional recipes from his childhood and give them a surprising twist. His handcrafted chocolates, ice creams, and cakes are a madeleine de Proust for many residents of Brussels. Bought out by investors, Debailleul became more discreet in Belgium as it established itself in Japan.

Debailleul came to us for multiple reasons. They were implementing a new development strategy in Belgium and wanted to dust off their old identity to reconquer Brussels. Our team visited Japan to understand how the brand had evolved. The challenge was to create a brand story and strategy that were compelling to both Japanese and Belgian markets, while remaining true to the spirit of dedication and innovation of its French founder.

A brand strategy outlines the future plans for a brand. A brand story gives it a soul. To convey the passion of Debailleul, we translated the brand’s characteristics into the traits of an imaginary person: the Debailleul woman. She is the brand’s muse. Her epicurean way of life is a source of inspiration. Any pastry, chocolate, place, or atmosphere that she cherishes belongs to the Debailleul brand.

Thomas Leon, Creative Director

For the illustrations, we focused on old-fashioned engravings with surreal details. We wrote a new tagline, we redesigned the signature and we created a new font. The latter flows like a river of melted chocolate in lowercase. All of these new features introduce Debailleul as a Belgian brand with a French heritage while embodying the spirit of the Debailleul woman. We wanted to make the Debailleul spirit exuberant while keeping it consistent and iconic.

Sander Vermeulen, Design Director

We established the brand’s foundations in the general range. The packaging for the classic and luxury ranges is where we added a glimpse of folie à la Belge with Christine Van Wassenhove’s illustrations and colors inspired by the Debailleul woman.

Sander Vermeulen, Design Director

We created an elaborate personality for the Debailleul woman which can be used across all communications. A sparkling character with a playful and witty voice – we imagined her stories as a getaway from the routine of everyday life.

Fumi Congan, Production Director

The special collections are variable, allowing us to bring diversity to the packaging. Departing from the regular codes of Debailleul, they can be customized according to a specific story related to a season or an event. We had to study the art and usage of packaging in Japan. It’s totally natural for the Japanese to buy one praline in a tiny individual box.

Léa Wolf, Designer

The structure of the first shop in Brussels posed a challenge; the buildings at Grand Place are often small, narrow and deep. We built the boutique around the idea of the Debailleul woman’s boudoir, with little cozy corners and long benches. There is a nice contrast between the frontage of the listed classical building and the modern and colorful interior.

Erwin De Muer, Designer