Behind the scenes of Burger King’s juicy rebrand

JKR executive creative director Lisa Smith explains why the fast food giant ditched the glossy buns and embraced a bit of nostalgia, to become “how you imagine BK to be on its best day”

At the start of 2021, Burger King unveiled its first rebrand in 20 years, debuting a newly flat logo, a “craveable” custom typeface and a fresh colour palette directly inspired by the food it serves. Packaging, social media, staff uniforms and menu boards have also all been updated, and are in the process of being rolled out across BK’s 18,000+ restaurants around the world.

It’s a huge visual overhaul for the company, so it comes as a surprise that JKR’s original brief wasn’t actually to do a rebrand. According to executive creative director Lisa Smith, Burger King originally approached JKR to discuss how it could improve perceptions around quality, sustainability and taste – an area in which, says Smith, the company knew it was performing below some of its peers and competitors.

“When you start to think about quality, obviously it starts with the food when you’re a restaurant,” explains Smith, who previously worked on the Chobani rebrand. “But it’s a full brand experience. So, what is it like to visit a restaurant? What do the restaurant designs look like? What does the packaging look like? What is the overall experience? And that wasn’t living up to a higher standard either, so it made us reappraise the full gamut from food through to the whole brand experience.”

According to Smith, Burger King’s previous branding had become disparate and fractured, with hundreds of colours, types, elements and symbols all fighting for attention. In some ways, she says, the Whopper identity had become more recognisable than the Burger King identity itself.