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JKR Gives Popeyes A Makeover

by Rudy Sanchez on 05/29/2020 | 2 Minute Read

In the world of fast-food chicken sammies, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more memorable example outside of Chik-fil-A-that is until Popeyes dropped their take on the bunned miracle last summer, featuring their signature seasoning, tender and crispy chicken, special exclusive sauce, thickly sliced pickles, and soft, pillowy bun with a slightly chewy crust. 

Since then, the entree has become Popeyes flagship menu item, with popularity resulting in increased sales, even in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

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The quick-service brand decided to use the momentum from the new sandwich to launch a brand refresh that both streamlines and rejuvenates Popeyes’ visual identity while paying respect to its Louisiana roots. The new chicken king brought agency Jones Knowles Ritchie (JKR) in to help with the new look, and they went to work straight away with a strategy of food first, drawing colors from Popeyes’ existing color palette, striking a balance between bold, new graphics and human touch and warmth.

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They replaced the bouncy and slightly puerile typography with a crisper and more contemporary type. JKR worked with foundry Colophon to create a bespoke type, “Chicken Sans,” to bring a modern feel to the brand. The wordmark now has a single baseline, injecting confidence and legibility, though they retained the mix of upper and lower case letters.

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The new principle color for Popeyes was literally pulled from its fried chicken, using a digital eyedropper tool, and they created illustrations based on the brand’s Lousiana roots for the packaging and a new logo, as well as a festive chicken called “Poppy.” Finally, former “Bon Appétit” photographer Alex Lau was brought in to give the imagery a more upscale feel.

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The visual refresh is not only riding the waves created by Popeyes’ new chicken sandwich but also at a time when the brand is about to embark on its latest expansion into a critical market-China. The fried chicken chain plans to open more than 1,500 locations in the Asian nation over the next decade. The new visual identity is already making its way into restaurants across the US. Hopefully, there isn't much of a line.

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