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« 255. The Difference Between Simple and Easy. | Main | 243. If anyone ever needed a rebrand... »
Thursday
Apr232009

244. Chipotle's New Brand.

Honestly, it's hard to know for sure if Chipotle has a new logo, as they have always used a few at a time. Going from a bank gothic set design to a Papyrus-like script to an all-cap grunge thing and back again without much reason. They've been all over the place in terms of their identity and packaging - a fragmented approach that stood in contrast to their uber-simple menu. On my last trip (I'm a fan of the burrito at large and Chipotle's in particular), I noticed a new design on a business card and did some searching. Turns out, the new identity is in fact a new identity and was designed by a creative/strategic firm in San Francisco called Sequence. (Their advertising is now being done by Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners. You can get a taste of that work below - though admittedly, taken completely out of context.)

The Old Logos:

The new logo features a revised chipotle pepper, it's inner strokes now more pleasing and purposeful. The previous one did feel a bit clip-art-like. There is also a new set of symbols, one for vegetables, beef, pork and chicken that are drawn in the same manner. I think these icons look great. (I took a business card that included the icons on the back and it's handsome to be sure.) The type is now set in all caps, a pleasing sans that reminds me of a rounded nuetraface - though I'm sure I'm missing the obvious here and await a correction. The combination mark comes in two versions, a horizontal bar version and a round seal version, and combined with their Mexican Grill descriptor. The horizontal version features two rounded rectangles that although I don't love - they also don't get in the way too much. The resutling forms do seem to draw too much attention to themselves, especially where the two shapes meet. I wouldn't mind if a few of the corners were of the regular old 90 degree variety. The colors on all the executions are the same you'd find inside the store previously, maybe with a little tweaking. They feel approrpriate.

The New Logos:

It's a very pleasing and modern design. A vast improvement over the somewhat schizophrenic approach heretofore. So as an identity, I really like. What I'm most worried about is the context. When this design is implemented into the actual retail spaces - how does it work. I believe there is a risk that they might lose a little bit of their personality, if they go too simple with the environmental, menu and packaging. We'll wait and see how that goes, but we do have a little peak into that via a case study on Sequence's site.

The New Look Applied:

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that there seems to be (already) some pushback on the change affecting the new menu and the very much loved advertising. The Denver egotist has more on that. (If they are in fact changing their menu - it would be a shame. It's simplicity perfected. Think In-And-Out Burger with a touch of class.) I'm withholding judgment based on the quality of shops involved with this work. Time will tell. The old advertising was simple, bold, funny and without pretense. I hope it remains that way too.

The Advertising Direction?

The Old Advertising:

The Card That Made Me Dig:


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Reader Comments (6)

It's funny - I ate there last night an noticed the minimalistic design with a very urban flair. I really thought their approach to ordering was interesting in that it hinged on the actual meat choices rather than the meal as a whole. Very different from Moe's. I also asked them about their founding company (McDonald's) and found out they were no longer connected. I wonder if the changes in logos is a result of the company's disconnection from McD's?
April 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCurtis Rose
I like the new look - the strong use of brown and red is very brand conscience, as well as the crisp use of fonts and iconage makes it very classy looking (High-end).

The swirls inside the animal icons do seem a bit odd, as do the animal icons in general. (Most folks don't want to be reminded of the animal they're eating.) Thanks for the post!
April 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrad McCall
Yeah - i know what you mean about the icons. Chipotle has always been pretty up front with telling people that - yes, they are eating animals - but animals that are fed and raised with some standard of ethics. Personally, I'm glad to know the vegetables I eat are treated humanely.

Appreciate the comment.
April 26, 2009 | Registered Commenterjj
I think the change is more of a function of their new brand consultants and ad agency and the fact that there is more pressure from stock holders and the like to increase sales. It's easy to think that more choice (more chances to upsell) equals more sales - but a lot of times, it's at the expense of the brand personality. Simplicity is part of who Chipotle has been for the last 15 years. I hope their menu doesn't change.
April 26, 2009 | Registered Commenterjj
McDonald's is not the founding or parent company. They were merely and investor. I believe McDonald's has gotten out of most of their outside investments.
May 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew
I am sure that switching up the menu has a direct correlation to the state of the economy (smaller price), but I wonder how much it has to do with the stigma that Chipotle has built up of NOT being healthy (huge portions). I think in general that people may think that Chipotle is "not bad" for you because of the natural ingredients and such, but in reality a Chipotle burrito is one of the worst things you can eat.I think it is probably a smart move to offer some meal deals with smaller portions like a taco and side salad. All I know is that I used to eat there a ton before I was aware of the nutrition info, and because of that, I now rarely eat there. Maybe I will go back if I know there will be more options. Oh, and I like the rebrand too.

The 20 Worst Foods in America: #16 Chipotle Mexican Grilled Chicken Burrito
http://tinyurl.com/4mz5no
May 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLance

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