Dirty Fries is a Dutch fast-food brand that shuns the barren, corporate conventions of restaurant chains around the world and boldly goes for originality and attitude.
Judging by the attention-grabbing package design and striking branding, it seems as if they had only one thing to say when they approached the like-minded Twisted Stranger, a Rotterdam-based digital media agency:
“Don’t hold back!”
Twisted Stranger dared to innovate by finding inspiration in what we deem as “a new retro.” In the era where minimal tendencies are becoming a norm, aesthetically turning back the clock does wonders and turns heads – literally.
Dirty Fries package design borrows from the graffiti art and skateboarding culture of the 90s and early 2000s. The distinct subculture has a raw charisma that appeals to the millennial nostalgia and younger demographics’ perception that sees it as a novelty.
The most impactful aspect of Dirty Fries package design lies in its color palette. It abandons the widely accepted standards of the fast-food industry and opts for a more animated route.
A chaotic blend of fluorescent and highly saturated colors emanates excitement but is also a refreshment for the eyes as it is “radically” (in terms of 90s lingo) different from the competition.
Twisted Stranger strategically “painted” Dirty Fries package design with neon shades affiliated with fun and frivolity.
As Twisted Stranger puts it:
“By adding a twist of naughtiness with some cool neon elements we made a perfect base to create the rest of the branding."
The bright color scheme paired with playful doodles creates a stunning effect that makes Dirty Fries packaging jump off the counter.
Altering the time and tested shapes of standardized packaging is one of the biggest design challenges.
The team behind the Dirty Fries package managed to switch the focus from the actual contours to the design by introducing the reimagined ideas of its subcultural influences in the visuals.
As previously mentioned, Dirty Fries draws heavily from urban, skateboard culture. However, it casts a wider net as it appeals to both the punk and hip-hop crowd, as well as those that tirelessly mashed Kelis's “Milkshake” on their Discman back in the day.
In reality, skateboard culture and street art have sparked a multitude of popular culture trends, from the way they express themselves, how they dress, the music they listen to — it influenced more than we know.
Street art is akin to guerilla art thanks for its “inability” to follow the rules, or in this case, ruling design trends. It has the power to capture the imagination and show up where you least expect it – a chicken bucket, fries container or milkshake cup, everything is branded down (and dirty)!
Dirty Fries package design strives to emulate the effortless confidence and attitude that “street heroes” exhibit in their lifestyles. It doesn’t just borrow per se but adds a fresh take to it.
Each milkshake cup has a small story to tell and by collecting and lining them all, consumers get an artful canvas that they can rearrange however they like, making them something of street artists themselves.
We know better than anyone that designing a beer label has become an art form of its own in recent years — and Dirty Fries’s unique design fits this like a glove. After all, what pairs better with fries than a cold beer?
Although the creative process is generally free and unrestrained, Dirty Fries package design seems chaotic only at first glance.
A more attentive viewer can see that every single product carries its own set of cute doodle characters that define what it is, its flavor, while each squiggly line is carefully planned to emphasize the character (just look at the overall layout of the label).
For specially brewed sour pale beer, Twisted Stranger seamlessly implemented the three beer label best design practices, making it:
Its sticker-like quality, dynamic colors, and witty graphics seamlessly blend into the Dirty Fries package design.
The logo uses two distinct fonts: One, devilishly vibrant with an almost animated air around it for the purple-colored word “Dirty” and a second, more rounded, all-caps and yellow “fries”.
The typography seems as if it’s drawn, not written, but it’s readable and perfectly understandable even for non-English speaking customers, as it cleverly demonstrates the brand itself: its playful nature in “Dirty” and mouthwatering palate of “FRIES” where every letter looks like a tasty French fry.
The logo uses one clever trick: while the typography perfectly fits the package design, its dark, rounded background helps it stand out and grab attention.
Casual, laid-back, raw, uncompromising — not afraid to get hands dirty with some finger-licking goods are the attributes that make Dirty Fries a crowned winner of our Best Design Award.