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Tugg Burgers breaks free from fast food tropes with their revamped visual identity

From an awfully likeable cast of 3D animated characters and wild, layered typography, Tugg’s joyful rebrand by Kurppa Hosk carries at its core, ‘the universality of the humble hamburger.’

by Jincy IypePublished on : Mar 29, 2023

What sort of visuals do we associate most with hamburgers and fast food in general? There has been a consistent, established monopoly on their graphic identity for over three decades (or more?) now. The burger’s distinguishing visuals have remained inextricable from its origins and have cemented themselves over time, from massive advertising, communication campaigns, and graphic designs, taking over the global market, and how we associate with the brand and product visually.

  • Meet Cheesela (cheese) from the personality-filled, animated cast of the Tugg family, created as part of the brand’s new visual identity | Tugg Burgers Identity by Kurppa Hosk | STIRworld
    Meet Cheesela (cheese) from the personality-filled, animated cast of the Tugg family, created as part of the brand’s new visual identity Image: Courtesy of Tugg, Kurppa Hosk
  • For the rebranding, Kurppa Hosk purposely strayed away from the typical colourways and graphics of American fast-food chains | Tugg Burgers Identity by Kurppa Hosk | STIRworld
    For the rebranding, Kurppa Hosk purposely strayed away from the typical colourways and graphics of American fast-food chains Image: Courtesy of Tugg, Kurppa Hosk

When you think of a hamburger, you think of all-American diners and dense drive-throughs, from McDonald's to Burger King, with their pale white packaging printed with their recognisable, homogenous logos. Even non-American chains tend to follow similar visual values, from their menu designs and chosen typefaces, that are standardised and, well, American.

  • Shalotte (red onion) stomps across the Tugg City | Tugg Burgers Identity by Kurppa Hosk | STIRworld
    Shalotte (red onion) stomps across the Tugg City Image: Courtesy of Tugg, Kurppa Hosk
  • The animated Tugg family brings a lightness to an otherwise concentrated typography | Tugg Burgers Identity by Kurppa Hosk | STIRworld
    The animated Tugg family brings a lightness to an otherwise concentrated typography Image: Courtesy of Tugg, Kurppa Hosk
  • The dancing Gurra (cucumber) and Fritte (fries) | Tugg Burgers Identity by Kurppa Hosk | STIRworld
    The dancing Gurra (cucumber) and Fritte (fries) Image: Courtesy of Tugg, Kurppa Hosk
  • Animated mustard and ketchup sauces chest bumping each other | Tugg Burgers Identity by Kurppa Hosk | STIRworld
    Animated mustard and ketchup sauces chest bumping each other Image: Courtesy of Tugg, Kurppa Hosk

Tugg, a Swedish chain of fast-casual hamburger restaurants took a whole new, ambitious approach—with their explosive, fun-filled, ultra-animated, renewed brand identity designed by Kurppa Hosk, the brand reinvents itself with awfully likeable 3D characters and wild, layered typography coalescing in a joyful landscape—like ingredients in a poke bowl—colourful, unpredictable, and wholly pleasant.

Gurra (the cucumber) from the Tugg family skateboards like a professional through the Tugg City Video: Courtesy of Tugg, Kurppa Hosk

For Tugg, the Stockholm and New York-based design agency’s loud refresh strays intentionally from the recognisable colourways and graphics of American culture that has long dominated the industry, as a renewed branding that breaks away from traditional tropes. Their intent was simple—to create a physical place that would be appealing to 'anyone and everyone'—a globally accessible identity. So, how does one do that creatively? Kurppa Hosk proceeded with this question: Should a restaurant meant to welcome everyone be so visually tied to the retro culture of American hamburger joints?

  • For the rebranding, Kurppa Hosk purposely strayed away from the typical colourways and graphics of American fast-food chains | Tugg Burgers Identity by Kurppa Hosk | STIRworld
    For the rebranding, Kurppa Hosk purposely strayed away from the typical colourways and graphics of American fast-food chains Image: Courtesy of Tugg, Kurppa Hosk
  • The identity features huge amounts of typographic variations, specially designed for Tugg | Tugg Burgers Identity by Kurppa Hosk | STIRworld
    The identity features huge amounts of typographic variations, specially designed for Tugg Image: Courtesy of Tugg, Kurppa Hosk

"When looking at the existing Tugg identity, we spotted an opportunity to build in more soul, more dynamism, and most of all, more representation of global cultures. It turned out to be relatively easy to break a long-established category behaviour. So, without prompting, we proposed an alternate take on a visual identity for Tugg that brought in inspiration from around the world, beyond the US. At its core, the new Tugg identity is about the universality of the humble hamburger, and how it can be brought to life in new ways to welcome anyone and everyone through design,” the Sweden-based designers share.

Meet the Tugg family: Mustafa (mustard), Ketty (tomato), Gurra (cucumber), Shalotte (red onion), Cheesela (cheese), and Fritte (fries) Video: Courtesy of Tugg, Kurppa Hosk

"With this ambition, we created a visual world that moves far from the hamburger’s (debated) American origins. Accompanied by colourful graphics and wild typography, we introduce the Tugg family consisting of Cheesela (cheese), Fritte (fries), Gurra (cucumber), Mustafa (mustard), Shalotte (red onion) and Ketty (tomato). Together they invite us to Tugg City, where anything is possible, and everyone is invited!” the Swedish design agency continues.

At its core, the new Tugg identity is about the universality of the humble hamburger, and how it can be brought to life in new ways to welcome anyone and everyone through design. – Kurppa Hosk
A hefty variation of typography articulates the branding revamp for Tugg burgers Video: Courtesy of Tugg, Kurppa Hosk

The visuals speak for themselves—diverse, loud, energetic and playful, the new graphic and communication design for Tugg is packed with personality, evocative of gaming worlds and enhanced by typographic variations, the hefty quantity of the latter attributing itself to the brand aiming to be multicultural and globally accessible. Each font across the project was designed bespoke for Tugg by Kurppa Hosk, except the KH Teka type, which articulates the sans serif body text.

The main chomping hamburger icon, bucktoothed and Pacman-like Video: Courtesy of Tugg, Kurppa Hosk

The dizzying array of animations are adorable to the core, with its dynamic cast of 3D characters, from dancing fries, skateboarding pickles, and the main chomping red burger, bucktoothed and Pacman-like, existing against a busy, almost glitchy backdrop of wild typographic landscapes. Speedy transitions and jarring graphics complete the Tugg City, where 2D and 3D designs coexist in unexpected, varied, and joyful ways.

  • The new design of the Tugg beer cans | Tugg Burgers Identity by Kurppa Hosk | STIRworld
    The new design of the Tugg beer cans Image: Courtesy of Tugg, Kurppa Hosk
  • The new design of the Tugg paper bag, with jarring white fonts on a plain black background | Tugg Burgers Identity by Kurppa Hosk | STIRworld
    The new design of the Tugg paper bag, with jarring white fonts on a plain black background Image: Courtesy of Tugg, Kurppa Hosk
  • The revamped spines of Tugg books | Tugg Burgers Identity by Kurppa Hosk | STIRworld
    The revamped spines of Tugg books Image: Courtesy of Tugg, Kurppa Hosk

The all-encompassing packaging design and freshened brand outfit is also informed by a colour palette of mustard yellow and ketchup red contrasting with liberty blue, and the classic black and white. Compared to the all-too-familiar red, orange or yellow combinations and flat visuals of most fast-food chains, this departure also spells innovation, with fast food being represented in varied, almost overpowering colour variations that are vibrant and chirpy.

The freshened brand identity for Tugg feature dizzying animations Video: Courtesy of Tugg, Kurppa Hosk

"In autumn 2022, the new identity began to be rolled out via the updated website, a communication campaign produced by our sister agency Animal, as well as restaurants and street advertising in Gothenburg. In the coming months, more restaurants will gradually switch to the new brand identity,” Kurppa Hosk concludes.

The walking t-shirt Video: Courtesy of Tugg, Kurppa Hosk

By universalising the graphic identity of the hamburger and its friends, Kurppa Hosk and Tugg empower themselves and its consumers through design, demonstrating an exercise that is wildly fun, appropriate, exciting, and different in the most joyous way.  

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