244. Chipotle's New Brand.
Apr 23, 2009 at 10:53AM

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:

Article originally appeared on Graphicology (http://www.graphicology.com/).
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