Podcast Feature & Horrible Things


Poom Seitz, Design Director at Ultra, was recently interviewed by The Quickie podcast, which you can listen to here. She talks about her path from Thailand to Minneapolis, navigating work/life balance as a mother to two young kids and projects that were meaningful to her. A stand out project? The 2015 Ultra Holiday Chocolate project, Horrible Things, which won a silver pencil at The One Show.


Horrible Things

Ultra Holiday Chocolate Gift, 2015

This year, the season of naughty and nice got us thinking about extreme contrasts, and what reaction we might evoke if we coupled high elegance with life’s “harsh” realities, all the while keeping the intent of the gift in the spirit of the holidays—to bring joy.


We traditionally give chocolate to our friends and families. And chocolate, as we all know, has that power to make almost any situation better. We let that magical property serve as the introduction to our theme, and foil stamped the following verse on the inner packaging:

For life’s innumerable perils,

chocolate is the finest balm.


Dubbed Horrible Things, Ultra’s 2015 holiday gift chocolates took the relatively common form of a line of fine chocolate bars, gathered in a white presentation box complete with foil embossing and a black silk bow.

The stark black and white packaging made for a somber contrast with the traditional palette of the season, and served as the perfect backdrop to showcase the nine highly saturated colors of the individual chocolate bar sleeves inside.


The challenge we set for ourselves was to take the themes of unfortunate circumstances and distill something pleasing from them by pushing certain elements to varying degrees of visual abstraction. In other words, find and express the beauty in the bummers of life.


To round out the gift-receiving experience, each chocolate bar’s ingredients reflected some aspect of its corresponding Horrible Thing. Some obvious like Pop Rocks for Side Effects. Some requiring some pop-cultural knowledge like Reese’s Pieces for Alien Abduction.