Art students give fresh look to Hershey's Pot of Gold

HERSHEY, Pa. and SAN FRANCISCO — The Hershey Company recently partnered with the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, Calif. to provide students with a hands-on package-design opportunity. Students were asked to create a customized heart box design for Hershey's Pot of Gold chocolates to help give the collection a contemporary, fresh look for the 2013 Valentine's Day season. After consumer testing, the top student package designs were selected for production and will be featured on-shelf during the 2013 Valentine's Day season.  In recognition of the school's efforts, The Hershey Company also donated $20,000 to the Academy of Art University for the creation of the Hershey Design Excellence Award.

"Packaging is such an important part of any brand experience and we are excited to be able to inspire creativity in students and showcase student-designed work on-shelf," said Moira Cullen, senior director of global design for The Hershey Company. "We are looking forward to helping foster the development of current and future designers by providing a series of scholarships to the school."

Thirteen students were tasked with the assignment of designing a heart box for the Pot of Gold assortment. Split into four teams, more than 40 heart boxes were created and four were selected for retail and will be available beginning in January 2013. Cullen served as one of three judges to select the winning package designs, as well as assisted in choosing the inaugural winners of the Hershey Design Excellence Award.

Each year, the Academy of Art University hosts a semi-annual student showcase in the winter and spring to feature work from the university's students. This year, Cullen and Sharnell Weathersby, associate brand manager of Valentine's Season for The Hershey Company, attended the annual spring show to be on hand to present the inaugural Hershey Design Excellence Award. The award recognizes an undergraduate and graduate student who has excelled in the area of package design. In addition to recognition, each winner receives $1,000.

This year, the Bachelors in Fine Arts recipient was Elliot Tran from San Francisco, Calif., while the Masters in Arts recipient was Astra Sondarsono from Indonesia. The remaining donation from The Hershey Company will be awarded in each category at both the university's winter and spring shows for the next several years.