With over 60 million touchpoints every day, McDonald’s packaging matters, which is why Pearlfisher partnered with restaurant giant for a multi-year redesign of the global packaging system. At the center of the redesign is a graphics system which serves as a single visual framework for the brand’s portfolio of products. Transitioning from a design system with prominent on-pack messaging, the graphic representations of menu items help make each of the structures more connected and evocative of McDonald’s playful point-of-view.
“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 the independent brand design agency. “We aimed to find the most special, recognizable and iconic expression of each – celebrating them in a way that makes people smile. Bringing personality to life through simple illustration allows for the packaging to be functionally unique, easy to identify, aesthetically minimal and, most importantly, emotionally joyful.”
Each iconic item is housed in new boxes, sleeves, wrappers as well as cups. Egg McMuffin feature a yellow yolk centered on an an all-white wrapper; graphics for the Quarter Pounder and Big Mac boxes evoke the signature burgers; and the Fillet-O-Fish box features two-toned ocean waves. The famous fly sleeve remains essentially intact, with thick yellow lines replacing the pinstripes inside.
In addition to creating a playful visual system no matter what combination of menu items are offered, the Pearlfisher solution has a practical effect as well: to boost efficiency during operations. Each wrapper and pack is identifiable where order assembly occurs. “These easy-to-understand graphics drive recognition regardless of where in the world orders are being assembled, shared, and enjoyed,” said Matt Sia, creative director at Pearlfisher. “Our task was finding out what was special about each menu item to design a system that would make it easy for others to do the same.”The easy-to-understand graphics are intended drive recognition regardless of where in the world orders are being assembled, shared and enjoyed.”