McDonald’s Design Metamorphosis
McDonald’s is well on its way to transforming the brand into a “contemporary restaurant experience,” to use the words of CEO Steve Easterbrook. At least seven ad agencies took part in its recent packaging redesign project. The brown kraft paper bags now feature oversized golden arches and a large Helvetica type treatment of its name in three parts. Fast Company praised the design, calling it “modern, legible and certainly more refined.” But the company’s hometown paper, the Chicago Business Journal, criticized it as “branding displayed in a fractured fashion” because the name is now “confusingly broken” into “McD,” “on” and “ald’s”.
Fast Company noted the strong contrast from the last stop in the packaging evolution. In 2013, McDonald’s emphasized “storytelling” with a “frenetic collage of QR codes, slogans, illustrations and symbols.” Now the goal is to simplify and strip down to the company’s core brand icons – its wordmark and golden arches.
Matt Biespiel, McDonald’s Senior Director of Global Brand Development, believes packaging is like a “mini billboard” and uses a “fashion mentality” when designing. He says it’s about “reinforcing the purchase decision – having people feel good about walking down the street holding our bag.” “Unlike other [branding], you receive packaging after you’ve already made the purchase,” he noted.
Dramatic makeovers are also in store for the restaurant itself. A catalog of options for store décor have been introduced that detail new chairs, lighting, tables, floors and walls.
Everything has been revamped and deconstructed at a new Hong Kong concept restaurant. The kitchen is open, the tabletops are concrete, the walls are plain. Landini Associates, who designed the space, prefer to call it “an experiment in No Design” because of the neutral tones that were used.
Landini Associates addressed the new look in an Instagram post: “The colorful graphic environments that became a signature for McDonald’s globally, are now replaced with a simpler, quieter and more classic appeal.” “The intention is to hero the food, the service and the people who come to enjoy it,” the message continued.
Customers can now order three ways: at their tables, a computerized kiosk or the counter. New menu options include “create your taste,” so customers can build their own burgers, and a large salad bar that includes desserts and drinks.
Last quarter, McDonald’s posted its first sales gain in two years, so maybe Easterbrook’s modern touches are already resonating with customers?
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Image Credit: McDonald’s