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Godiva's luxurious looks
Godiva’s North American President’s Award goes to an Iranian-American designer Massoud Mansouri


Compiled by Hengameh Fouladvand
December 18, 2005

October 27, 2005 was the Campbell Soup Company’s Extraordinary Performance Award ceremony, and a day for bringing together employees from each supporting company. Godiva Chocolatier took advantage of the opportunity to gather over 100 employees from locations around the North East for a luncheon in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Gene Dunkin, President Godiva North America seized the opportunity to present the North American President’s Award at the luncheon.

This year, the award went to just one person for his unbelievable contributions to Godiva’s contemporization on almost every product and packaging front. His projects included designing artwork and packaging for the Truffle Redesign, the G Collection, Chocolate Bar Redesign, International Redesign, Platinum line, Ice Cream, Cheesecake, Icon Relaunch, not to mention Godiva’s sleek new logo, which Gene referred to as a little “weekend project.”

Gene displayed packaging of the projects, and described the man responsible for them, “He creates ownable, unique designs that are a true reflection of our brand. His passion is lived out in his drive to produce excellence and accept nothing less than his absolute best effort. He truly owns his work.” It became clear that he was speaking of Godiva’s Iranian-American Senior Design Director, Massoud Mansouri. It was only about half way through Gene’s speech that everyone in the room rose to their feet and offered Massoud a standing ovation for his work.

Massoud graciously accepted the award in his typically modest manner. He described how he felt, eager to work with people like Maria Williams, VP Godiva Global Creative Services and Gene Dunkin, President Godiva North America - people he respects and admires. Massoud offered the award to all Godiva employees past, present, and future; acknowledging that Godiva would not be what it is without all of those people and their ability to work as a team.

Later, reflecting on winning the award, Massoud explained that in order to achieve excellence, the term “business hours” does not apply. In Creative Services, he said, “there is no such thing as 9-5; you are creating in your sleep.” He also mentioned that there is no use in developing something unless it is truly unique, an idea by which he stands. As to the award, he appreciated and was humbled by the consideration. “If anything, this will fortify my way of approaching my work, not change it.”

Maria Williams shared Gene’s sentiments. When asked about Massoud, she described him as an “incredibly talented, patient human being. He is highly respected by all those he touches for his creativity, ethical standards, and compassion.” His ability to never compromise unique, ownable designs lends itself to how deserving Massoud is of the North American President’s Award.

As the day continued, Massoud’s work was further acknowledged as he received two Extraordinary Performance Awards for his work on Truffle Redesign and North American Revitalization of Godiva’s products.

To fully appreciate Massoud’s contributions to Godiva, one doesn’t need to know of his awards; simply walk into a Godiva store or have a conversation with one of his colleagues. Godiva’s image has gone through a major contemporization recently. The Godiva logo is on practically every touch point across the brand, and therefore is a key communication vehicle to consumers. Historically, the logo stood for luxury, elitism, and attention to detail. While Godiva still represents many of those characteristics, as a more modern image evolved, it became evident that the logo needed to appeal to a broader audience.

On the most fundamental level, the Godiva logo is a naked woman riding a horse. What was needed was a logo that reflects passion, sensuality, and pride. After various concepts were reviewed, the decision was made to develop a logo that contained both Lady Godiva and her horse in a simple manner that reflected Godiva’s Belgian history.

The previous logo consisted of Lady Godiva upon her horse, intricately designed and ornate. Simplification became the direction of the new concept: a modern logo with effortless style. Lady Godiva’s personality became a primary focus as a vehicle to convey an updated look. The new design aimed at communicating a message of accessible luxury.

The logo was initiated by an outside design firm who helped develop the concept for Godiva's reinvention plan in terms of packaging and provided the fundamentals of the Platinum Collection box.Their creation of the updated font for the packaging sparked inspiration for the Lady Godiva symbol from within Godiva.

Mansouri, Design Director at Godiva took the initiative and met the challenge of creating the new Lady Godiva symbol internally. The Persian designer wanted to create something completely unique that would inspire the market and safeguard the Godiva brand. He felt anything less would be “Un-Godiva.” Massoud’s passion for the brand can be found in nearly every project that touches the process of Godiva’s modernization.

Massoud worked closely with both the International and North American marketing teams in order to refine the vision for the Lady Godiva symbol. The marketing team developed the direction of modernity, passion, and sensuality. Massoud translated that development into a streamlined symbol that called for stronger, bolder lines, resulting in a simplified look.

Animation played a critical role in modernizing and energizing Lady Godiva and her horse. The horse’s forward body motion and windblown mane and tail imply its swift motion. To give Lady Godiva more definition, many of the intricacies, which sometimes led consumers to think she was a knight, were removed. This led to a sleeker appearance, which emphasized and balances her confidence, femininity, and modesty. The new Lady Godiva holds one arm across her chest. However, she rides the horse in a masculine manner, with legs on either side, exuding confidence and a sense of boldness.

The process of creating Godiva’s new logo was a long one, spanning roughly nine months, with 72 renditions of Massoud’s creation before it was perfected. The result was a sleeker, more modern logo. The team, under the creative leadership of Massoud Mansouri, created an emblem that communicates passion centered on accessible luxury.


Born in Tehran Massoud E. Mansouri worked under great traditional Persian masters of painting and calligraphy. He was exposed to journalism and print technology at a young age, which enabled him to become a young cartoonist in the renowned humor magazine Tofigh.  He later attended Tehran University’s Department of Fine Arts. His undergraduate neon inspired thesis installation was so sophisticated that won him an immediate inclusion to the Fine Arts Department, making him the youngest faculty member of that department. In 1976, he attended Chicago’s Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), Institute of Design (ID), founded by Mies van der Rohe one of the original founders of Bauhaus School.

Upon his return to Iran he consequently became the Chair in Tehran University’s Visual Arts Department. In 1984 he moved to New York City and established himself as a designer, working with luxury cosmetic lines such as Elizabeth Arden, Esteé Lauder and many private labels. Massoud joined Godiva Chocolatier as a free lace consultant in 1997 and later joined Godiva’s Creative Department as the Senior Art Director in 2000. Massoud received Godiva’s North American President’s Award of Excellence in Oct.25, 2005. 

Hengameh Fouladvand is Executive Director of the Center for Iranian Modern Arts in New York City.


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