Food Articles

The science of burgers

Branding expert Matt Bucknall, who's worked with Glastonbury, Ninja Tune and Tate, analyses the packaging of five of your favourite patty-pushers


Shake Shack

“Cool, clean, considered, perfectly kerned and perhaps a touch clinical – the Shake Shack identity is very much aware of itself. The choice of typeface still promotes a slight retro feel but it’s only a nod. Using green as an accent colour alludes to a healthier, wholesome burger joint. All held together by charming and well-rounded icons. It says 'we’re friendly, fresh and cool'.”

The science of burgers

Five Guys

“A slightly clunky pastiche of an American diner from yesteryear. This wouldn’t look out of place in Grease – the use of the classic red/white checkered pattern is instantly recognisable. The unbranded foil wrap is a nice touch too – implying a homemade feel, you know what you’re going to get – maybe your Mom will pop a hamburger in your lunchbox.”

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Meat Liquor

“Just one look at the identity and you know it’s going to get messy… in a good way. The logo is a mixture of a stencil, a stamp (both of which feel temporary, no surprise as it started as a roving street-food wagon) and a typeface that echoes a neon sign – the type you’d see in a dark, grungy dive bar. It says 'we’re edgy, rock and roll, in your face and a bit naughty'. Lucky the lights are low – the darkness will hide a multitude of sins spilled down your crisp white shirt."

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“Parts of the identity hint to the diner aesthetic but without going over the top. The use in places of an all-American typeface is carefully considered. This combined with an approachable colour palate makes it clean and contemporary – elements often combined with delightful quirky illustrations by Jean Jullien. It’s playful, family friendly and fun. They’ll serve you a burger you can trust.”

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Burger King

“Instantly recognisable, the Burger King logo is garish and almost squidgy. The dynamic angled text is a classic design trick to suggest movement and speed (think of the F1 logo – woosh!), so you know you’ll get fast, swift service. The packaging is minimal, clean and uninspiring. It’s not inviting an experience – you’re in and out with no pretense whatsoever."

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