McDonald’s new packaging is ‘aesthetically minimal’ and ‘emotionally joyful’

London-based Pearlfisher has rebranded American fast food chain McDonald’s packaging design, revealing a bold graphic system based on arresting vector illustrations.

by STIRworldPublished on : Mar 01, 2021

The spirit of carefree living and life’s small pleasures find a touch of playfulness in the revamped packaging for McDonald’s, by Pearlfisher. The American fast food chain brand - with its ubiquitous logo of the two overlapping golden arches - has for the last 65 years persisted to become a premium name for quality food and convenience across countries, towns and cities globally. This has further led the brand to have over 60 million contact points every single day, leaving immense possibilities of discovery and scrutiny for all their packaging.

01 min watch The new packaging creatively displayed on a billboard in the form of motion graphics | McDonald’s global packaging redesign by Pearlfisher | STIRworld
The new packaging creatively displayed on a billboard in the form of motion graphics Video: Courtesy of Pearlfisher

Pearlfisher - a strategic creative and brand design agency, headquartered in London, collaborated with McDonald’s for a multi-year restructure of their global packaging system. The overhaul is centered around themes of high-spirits, explosion of energy and playfulness while being aesthetically minimal. In contrast to its previous ‘in-your face’ identity, which responded to the company’s vision to be a modern and escalating burger brand, the latest redesign tries to resonate and reflect the congenital joy of McDonald’s.

The simplified packaging contains the item's name and the McDonald's M logo | McDonald’s global packaging redesign by Pearlfisher | STIRworld
The simplified packaging contains the item's name and the McDonald's logo Image: Courtesy of Pearlfisher

The revamped packaging is a striking transition from the earlier typography-based theme to a new and bold graphic system based on arresting vector illustrations. Each food item packet would now be highly connected and relatable to the food inside through the use of bright and simple graphic design launched through the new wrapping. A single visual language would be used across the brand’s entire range of food products, aimed at releasing a sense of joy and ease. The redesign also caters to the globally evolving brand perception through a playful point of view by the connected and evocative representation of the food items listed on the Mcdonald’s food menu. “Our task was finding out what was really special about each menu item to design a system that would make it easy for others to do the same,” says Matt Sia, Creative Director at Pearlfisher.

Transformation of the portfolio of products for the global food chain | McDonald’s global packaging redesign | by Pearlfisher | STIRworld
Transformation of the portfolio of products for the global food chain Image: Courtesy of Pearlfisher

The agency tried to figure the most special, recognisable and iconic expression of each – celebrating it in a way that makes people smile. For few products this meant a direct interpretation of the food while for others it meant a representation of the key ingredients used.

So, while ‘Fillet-O-Fish’ is covered with waves in turquoise shade relating to fishes of the blue water, the ‘Big Mac’ sandwich container represents the layers of the burger in an animated form. The ‘McMuffin’ wrapper has a large yellow yolk in the centre and the ‘Fries’ packet remains relatively same with the addition of pointed fries on the interior of the box. Everything in this newly unveiled system has a purpose and attempts to activate McDonald’s’ brand positioning to make delicious, feel-good moments easy for everyone. The effortless, uncomplicated graphics drive recognition regardless of the city or country where the orders are being assembled, shared and enjoyed and therefore the revamp has consciously involved and interfered to ease out the operation processes held inside the restaurants, enabling crew members to be super-efficient.

  • 01 min watch Cool blue waves on the Filet-O-Fish box | McDonald’s global packaging redesign | by Pearlfisher | STIRworld
    Cool blue waves on the Filet-O-Fish box Video: Courtesy of Pearlfisher
  • 01 min watch Golden, melting cheese on the Quarter Pounder | McDonald’s global packaging redesign | by Pearlfisher | STIRworld
    Golden, melting cheese on the Quarter Pounder Video: Courtesy of Pearlfisher
  • 01 min watch Illustrated layers of the famous ‘Big Mac’ | McDonald’s global packaging redesign | by Pearlfisher | STIRworld
    Illustrated layers of the famous ‘Big Mac’ Video: Courtesy of Pearlfisher
  • The ‘McFlurry’ glass attempts to increase temptation by representing the feeling of consumption | McDonald’s global packaging redesign by Pearlfisher | STIRworld
    The ‘McFlurry’ glass attempts to increase temptation by representing the feeling of consumption Image: Courtesy of Pearlfisher
  • The additional illustration on the inside of the new fries packet | McDonald’s global packaging redesign by Pearlfisher | STIRworld
    The additional illustration on the inside of the new fries packet Image: Courtesy of Pearlfisher

“We are proud to debut this redesigned system,” mentions Barbara Yehling, Senior Director of Global Menu Strategy at McDonald’s Corporation. “Pearlfisher helped to ensure that this redesign modernises our brand, highlights the specialness of our menu, and delivers on our commitment to quality,” she adds.

In response to a crucial scenario of even established firms, brands and organisations having the need to effectively communicate to their target audience and customers, branding and rebranding is surely having a profound role in reinventing and updating brand identities for the present and future markets. Earlier this year, the competing food chain company Burger King also revealed their rebranding strategies and concepts after a period of 20 years.

Packaging designed to position the brand making delicious, feel-good moments easy for everyone | McDonald’s global packaging redesign | by Pearlfisher | STIRworld
Packaging designed to position the brand making delicious, feel-good moments easy for everyone Image: Courtesy of Pearlfisher

(Text by Nikitha Sunil, intern at STIRworld.com)

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