Would You Like Fries with That?
Shuma Talbot in Brand, Brand Design, Hospitality

Byron Hamburgers uses a variety of bespoke graphics and interiors.

My favourite thing about London is the variety of food you can find within the city. Long gone are the popular days of the almighty Golden Arches. Instead a new food trend has hit the streets. Much like a Starbucks on every corner, there are now artisan burger joints peppered throughout the capital. Our favorite fast food has graduated to a higher level of prestige and the results are mouth-watering!

London’s newfound infatuation with trendy burger joints is evidenced by a host of hipster upstarts including Meat liquor, Honest Burgers, and Hache burger that have popped up in the city. With American burger chains Five Guys and Shake Shack invading British soil in search for a slice of London’s growing market, it’s become hard to walk along a busy High street without developing a hankering for some all-beef patties.

Whether we like it or not, the posh burger is now an established part of British dining. Its revolutionary take on the humble patty is so different to its predecessors that it’s difficult to put in the same category as the old competition. And this poses a significant challenge to all newcomers, namely how do you create a differentiated brand in a burgeoning and competitive market?

The price of gourmet burgers are higher than fast food fare but still affordable. The food is locally sourced, made to order, and the staff are knowledgeable about their menu and not driven by golden stars. So how does a posh burger chain make its brand stand-out?

Consider the example of Byron. Founded in 2007, the name Byron, meaning ‘from the cow shed’ was chosen by founder Tom Byng because it “sounded confident,” and didn’t use the word burger. The chain’s ensuing success not only stemmed from playing homage to the brand’s core values of providing fresh food but also its ability to cleverly communicate its ‘brand’ to its diners.

As a designer, it is easy to admire the ‘dynamic’ brand of Byron burger. Driven by Byron designer Ben Stott’s refusal to adopt a uniform branding style, Byron has mastered the art of anti-branding with no house style. Instead, Byron embraces bespoke restaurant signs and hipster illustrations, adopting a look that’s become the way customers instantly recognise their innovative franchise. Here’s a look at how the chain accomplishes this.

  1. Restaurant: Byron’s individual restaurant style was originally introduced by Byron’s architects, Michaelis Boyd Associates, who developed a bespoke style for each restaurant. Signage is anything from hand written signs to flashing neons.

    With no standard Byron typeface, styles vary from hand-lettering to vintage typefaces. By making each restaurant feel as if it was the only one, the successful franchise communicates a non-franchise feel.

  2. Graphics and Printed Collateral: The interiors and printed collateral feature bespoke works from contemporary illustrators such as Mr Bingo, Jean Jullien, Paul Davis and Joel Holland. The tone of voice has been carefully crafted to be simple, quirky and memorable. Byron shows us they don’t take themselves too seriously with playful print like ‘I like big buns and I cannot lie!’ Byron’s quirky and sometimes unstructured brand radiates quality and originality.

Shoreditch temporary window manifestation, illustrated by Jean Jullie

As Byron plans to open 10 of its unique restaurants every year for the “foreseeable future.” The success of the burger chains unconventional brand shows that when trying to standout in an overcrowded market – it pays to be different! The varying interiors brings the focus to the only unchanging feature - the proper hamburgers.

Shuma is a multi-disciplined Graphic Designer with 12 years international experience working with leading design groups in London, Dubai and Sydney. Her experience ranges from corporate identity and branding, environmental design, to design for print and packaging. Shuma was awarded Silver for the International Creativity Awards in 2011. Her work was featured in ‘Logo Lounge 5’ published by Rockport. Shuma loves to be inspired and challenged, and believes that great work stems from a bright idea. Contact her at shuma_talbot@gensler.com.
Article originally appeared on architecture and design (http://www.gensleron.com/).
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