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15 Creative Examples of Fast Food Packaging (Both Real and Imagined)

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So much of fast food's appeal boils down to marketing—and that's why the packaging can sometimes make or break a product. Fast food packaging design is so important that some designers go out of their way to imagine their own renditions. Here are some packaging ideas that were practical, exciting, or downright crazy. 

1. CAPTURE THE MOMENT 

Earlier this summer, Kentucky Fried Chicken confused the public by announcing their new “Memories Bucket,” a container that the company said would print out Polaroid-like pictures via Bluetooth. The bucket has yet to hit the restaurants and might just be a strange publicity stunt, but we’re hungry for some fried chicken either way. 

2. SHOW TIME

Pizza Hut knows that pizza and movies are a great combination, so this year they created a pizza box that doubles as a projector. All you need is the box and a smartphone to turn any place into a mini movie theater.  

3. FOOD FOR BIKERS

Biking while holding fast food just got way easier thanks to the new McBike packaging, which carries a McDonald’s burger, fries, and drink. According to Wired, cyclists can hook the whole thing onto their handle bars and take their food on the go. The mint carrier was only available for a one day campaign in June in Copenhagen and Medellin, Colombia. 

4. MULTI-TASK

Burgers are delightful, but doing anything else while eating them can be tough. In a humorous ad campaign, Burger King proposed the “Hands Free Whopper” in 2013, a plastic stand that hooks around your shoulders (similar to a harmonica holder) that allowed a user to do other activities while chowing down. Sadly, this product never actually made it to the stores, so you'll actually have to put your burger down if you want to multi-task. 

5. SUGARY STRAWS

When Starbucks unveiled its S’mores Frappuccino in late spring, they made sure the straws were extra special too. The cookie straws are lined with chocolate to give you even more of that sugar you desperately crave. 

6. A GOOD READ

When eating alone, or with a particularly boring friend, your eyes might wander in search of something to read. Chipotle and Jonathan Safran Foer worked together to create complimentary entertainment—short stories by everyone from Jeffrey Eugenides to Aziz Ansari—on the sides of the chain's cups and bags. The project launched last year and continues to engage patrons today.

7. A COLORFUL WRAPPING

To celebrate the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade last year, Burger King created a new burger called the “Proud Whopper.” The burger was the same as always, but it was wrapped in a colorful rainbow paper that said “we are all the same inside.”

8. EDIBLE CUPS

KFC in Britain is experimenting with a cup that you can eat after drinking your coffee. The cup is made out of wafer and lined in sugar paper and white chocolate. The company believes that this interesting new packaging will appeal to environmentally conscious customers. 

9. FILL UP YOUR CUP

Designer Joshua Harris designed “Coffee Top Caddie,” a special molded top that lets you stack sugars and creamers on top of your Dunkin Donuts cup. Harris wasn't working with Dunkin, however, so this brilliant concept probably won't be available anytime soon.

10. GOAL!

To coincide with the 2014 World Cup, McDonald’s released a series of soccer-themed French fry holders designed by 12 different artists. After downloading the “McDonald’s GOL!” app, users could hover their phones over the sleeves to start a mini game. The fries became a goal and the player could knock a virtual ball into the net. 

11. HEAT ALERT

Netherlands-based designer Tiago Pinto doesn't want you to burn your mouth. That’s why he created a concept for Dunkin Donuts cups that alerts drinkers when their beverage is too hot. Hot cups are bright orange and say “I am hot!” but turn white once they've cooled to a safe temperature. This hasn’t been adopted yet, but we hope it is—it would really help keep us from missing the small window between scalding and lukewarm coffee. 

12. EAT YOUR TWEETS

Remember to watch what you tweet at Taco Bell, because they might shame you with tacos. When the fast food joint brought their Doritos Locos Tacos to Canada in 2013, their first action was to make the impatient complainers eat their words—literally. Those particular tweeters were invited to a "special fan event" and asked to eat tacos with their angry tweets printed on the side of the shell.

13. GET FANCY 

In an attempt to break into the luxury market, McDonald’s Japan rolled out the "Quarter Pounder Jewelry" series in 2013, which featured a number of fancy burgers that cost ¥1,000 ($10). The gourmet burgers incorporated high-end ingredients like avocado, chorizo, pineapple, and black truffle sauce. To showcase this fanciness, the food was packaged in a sleek white box embellished with a small golden M; the burger container even opened like a watch box. The packaging was so luxurious that customers could almost forget they were sitting in a plastic booth. 

14. TEXT ON YOUR TRAY

KFC Germany understands that texting with greasy fingers can be a real drag. To help out their oily patrons, they lined their trays with disposable Bluetooth keyboards instead of paper for a week in May. The plan seemed a little harebrained, but it worked—geolocated social interaction at the restaurants increased substantially. 

15. EAT IN SECRET

In Japan, it’s considered rude for women to open their mouths too wide in public. Sexism aside, it led to a decline in female customers at the Japanese burger chain FRESHNESS BURGER due to their food’s large size. To get women back in their restaurant, the chain introduced special napkins that hid women’s faces while they ate. The “Liberation Wrapper” had a woman’s lower face printed on it to give the illusion the eater wasn’t opening their mouths at all. The innovative wrappers led to a 200 percent leap in classic burger sales. 

BONUS: SPOOKY BURGERS 

Instead of making edgier packaging, Burger King once decided to just change the color of their actual food. Called the “Black Pearl” and the “Black Diamond,” the two meals were marketed in Japan right before Halloween 2014. The spooky-looking burgers had black buns and black cheese.

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Courtesy Umbrellium
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These LED Crosswalks Adapt to Whoever Is Crossing
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Courtesy Umbrellium

Crosswalks are an often-neglected part of urban design; they’re usually just white stripes on dark asphalt. But recently, they’re getting more exciting—and safer—makeovers. In the Netherlands, there is a glow-in-the-dark crosswalk. In western India, there is a 3D crosswalk. And now, in London, there’s an interactive LED crosswalk that changes its configuration based on the situation, as Fast Company reports.

Created by the London-based design studio Umbrellium, the Starling Crossing (short for the much more tongue-twisting STigmergic Adaptive Responsive LearnING Crossing) changes its layout, size, configuration, and other design factors based on who’s waiting to cross and where they’re going.

“The Starling Crossing is a pedestrian crossing, built on today’s technology, that puts people first, enabling them to cross safely the way they want to cross, rather than one that tells them they can only cross in one place or a fixed way,” the company writes. That means that the system—which relies on cameras and artificial intelligence to monitor both pedestrian and vehicle traffic—adapts based on road conditions and where it thinks a pedestrian is going to go.

Starling Crossing - overview from Umbrellium on Vimeo.

If a bike is coming down the street, for example, it will project a place for the cyclist to wait for the light in the crosswalk. If the person is veering left like they’re going to cross diagonally, it will move the light-up crosswalk that way. During rush hour, when there are more pedestrians trying to get across the street, it will widen to accommodate them. It can also detect wet or dark conditions, making the crosswalk path wider to give pedestrians more of a buffer zone. Though the neural network can calculate people’s trajectories and velocity, it can also trigger a pattern of warning lights to alert people that they’re about to walk right into an oncoming bike or other unexpected hazard.

All this is to say that the system adapts to the reality of the road and traffic patterns, rather than forcing pedestrians to stay within the confines of a crosswalk system that was designed for car traffic.

The prototype is currently installed on a TV studio set in London, not a real road, and it still has plenty of safety testing to go through before it will appear on a road near you. But hopefully this is the kind of road infrastructure we’ll soon be able to see out in the real world.

[h/t Fast Company]

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Here's How to Turn an IKEA Box Into a Spaceship
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iStock

Since IKEA boxes are designed to contain entire furniture items, they could probably fit a small child once they’re emptied of any flat-packed component pieces. This means they have great potential as makeshift forts—or even as play spaceships, according to one of the Swedish furniture brand’s print ads, which was spotted by Design Taxi.

First highlighted by Ads of the World, the advertisement—which was created by Miami Ad School, New York—shows that IKEA is helping customers transform used boxes into build-it-yourself “SPÄCE SHIPS” for children. The company provides play kits, which come with both an instruction manual and cardboard "tools" for tiny builders to wield during the construction process.

As for the furniture boxes themselves, they're emblazoned with the words “You see a box, they see a spaceship." As if you won't be climbing into the completed product along with the kids …

Check out the ad below:

[h/t Design Taxi]

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