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EAT & GO: Branding & Design for Takeaways & Restaurants

Chris Dickman Mon, 08/18/2014 - 13:24

EAT & GO: Branding & design for takeaways & restaurants
Published by Promopress

Preface by Danil Snitko
Art Director at PUNK YOU BRANDS branding agency


You get out of bed in the morning with your eyes barely open. You’d hit snooze on your alarm clock whilst you were half asleep and now you’re hastily hopping on one leg through your apartment, pulling on your clothes and getting your work stuff together at the same time. Breakfast is out of the question. You can no longer remember when you last had time to actually sip a cup of coffee before work in the morning. “Maybe I can stop in at a coffee shop and pick up a coffee and something to eat,” you say to yourself. It’s more or less the same idea as the one that flashes through the minds of millions of city dwellers every day.

Restaurants and other food outlets that offer takeaway services are actively gaining customers. This is especially evident in major metropolitan areas, where every second commuter is in a hurry to get somewhere. We no longer have time for leisurely walks, long lunches or sitting down for a cup of coffee.

Increased competition and a different kind of communication with the customer require a completely different approach to branding in this area. Brand-design options are no longer limited to creating signs and menus. They must attract the consumer in the midst of all the turmoil that constantly prevails in the life of a person living in a busy city.

The packaging design of takeaway products is also very important. Branding of takeaway restaurants is different from that of classic sit-in restaurants, and revolves round a distinct set of issues. To get the customer’s attention it needs to be extraordinary, but it should not be too eccentric, since often the customer will eat their food directly out of this packaging.

Humans are emotional creatures. Every day we look for new feelings and experiences, even though this need is not as prominent as the sensation of hunger. It is not surprising that brands with a deeply emotional design are becoming very popular. Buying food or drink to take away is a spontaneous process, and decision making in this situation is governed by the customer’s emotions.

We also need to keep in mind the fact that hunting for food is one of the basic survival instincts. Any information related to food is analysed in a part of our brain that was programmed millions of years ago. Before we have managed to consciously decide if we want this snack or not our brain already knows it’s not going to happen because it smells bad or looks wrong. Exactly how wrong? “I don’t know, but trust me: it’s not worth it!” this ancient part of our brain tells us, and we listen to it because ignoring it may cost us dear. And you have to admit, after millions of years our brain is still pretty good at knowing how to define food that’s fit to eat.

And so design that has anything to do with food, whether it is in the form of packaging or restaurant branding, faces some delicate challenges. It too is being analysed by the primitive part of our brain in order to decide whether it edible or not. That is why in this area, as in many others, the designer or agency always bears great responsibility for the result. Any wrong move, any error in reasoning can lead to a commercial failure. For example, in one case changing the label on a make of bread from red to green literally killed a brand. It turned out that the colour green on a loaf of bread is perceived as mould, which triggered people’s brains and instincts to tell them that this bread was best avoided. Before even checking the expiration date the design led to the bread being rejected within a millisecond.

Whilst working on branding for a takeaway outlet the design team has to investigate not only the market and competitive environment but also, and even more importantly, how the brain analyses information about food. Which colour combinations seem enjoyable and “edible” and which do not? Which material suggests the product is organic and natural, and why? How will the customer interact with the product? Which forms and images are appropriate, and which will trigger the panic mode of the customer’s brain and instincts?

In addition to the universal principles of design evaluation, it is essential to take into account the local cultural context. A design or product name that is clearly perceived as pleasant and appealing in one place can cause exactly the opposite reaction somewhere else. Whenever a design is developed or adapted for a new region it is necessary to carry out a study of the local cultural context.
Finally, functionality is extremely important when it comes to takeaways. A business might have packaging for a product—but is it suitable for carrying that product? Will the coffee spill when you open the lid if it is on too tight? Will the contents of a packet scatter everywhere because the packaging is made from a material that is too dense, meaning the consumer is forced to apply too much force in trying to open it? And if you put the product on a table, will it stand up? Will the cardboard get wet and soggy during prolonged storage or from condensation when heated in the microwave? Finally, can it be disposed of in an appropriate way?

Thousands of designers and agencies worldwide are working on all of these questions—and hundreds of others—on a daily basis. This book takes you into their world, revealing the conundrums faced by designers and the creative solutions they’ve come up with when working in this fascinating field.

And now, having had to skip breakfast this morning, I think it’s time for me to go and grab a coffee and a bite to eat…

Design: John Wegman Branding Assistant: David Wegman
Branding, stationery and packaging for a mobile coffee-vending tricycle. The brand revolves around the patron saint of Coffee, Saint Dreux, and the patron Saint of cycling, Madonna del Ghisallo. It is the intersection of Dreux and Ghisallo that is explored in the customized ampersand found in the logo.

Agency: Designers Anonymous
Fika is named after the Swedish word for coffee break and Designers Anonymous needed no encouragement to express its 'Take a Break' proposition in a way that matches the brand's quirky personality and cosmopolitan location. Their branding solution is based on the notion of a break from the dull routine of daily life. This is subtly expressed by perforating sections aroundand within a mix of photographs and illustra tions. Sections are perforated and removed and either assembled as collage or used individually to express a variety of messages. The perforated edging detail links each image back to Fika and the theme of 'Take a Break'.

Design: Eggplant Factory
Korodon is a korokke 5Japanese croquette) & tonkatsu take-out café. Korokke is a popular street for in Korea. Usually, take-out korokkes are wrapped with square-shaped waxed paper, and packed in a paper bag. Eggplant Factory wanted to position korokke as "giftable" food. For Korodon's take-out package, korokkes are wrapped with cone-shaped waxed paper, and then packed in a swiss roll cake box, which is suitable for gift as well.

Design: David Santos, Joana Santos, Jose Araujo, Margarida Mouta, Mario Branco
Maos De Manteiga was developed as ana academic project for the class of Strategic Design, taught by Prof. Alvaro Sousa at Universidade de Aveiro as part of the last year of the Design Degree. The students were required to come up with a concept, identity and strategy for a fictional fast-food restaurant. The concept behind Maos De Manteiga (literally "butter hands" is a brunch/pancake restaurant that encourages clients to eat with their hands and dismiss the flatware.

Agency: Scandinavian Design Group, Inne Design Photography: Scandinavian Design Group, Mona Gundersen
At Melkerampa, TINE's new brandstore at Osko's food-hall, the traditonal meets the modern in a symbiosis of visual identity and interior design. The interior of the Melkerrampa store allows for both selling and serving and it's fleshed out through the use of elements from the visual identity. The long table acts as the centerpiece to the store, inviting visitors to rest a while and maybe chat with their tablemates. In developing the identity the designers focused on the long dairy culture which TINE has been a major part of for over the last 100 years, and gave them a modern expression. The name Melkerampa conjures up images of the rich traditiion of a social meeting place.

Agency: Planet Creative Art Direction/Design: Thomas Anderson, Tobias Ottomar
Hornhuset is like a bustling little square somewhere around the Mediterranean. A melting pot on three floors for those who want to enjoy a menu of flavourful, smaller dishes, or buy exceptionally tasty take out. Honhuset is a mix of all the good things from around the Mediterranean and that is something the designers wanted to get through in the identity. Fresh bold colours, a playful typography and frame to bind it together. All with a sun bleached feeling of summer.

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