So you've made a New Year's resolution to feel better about yourself and take control of your diet. Good for you! Unfortunately, McDonald's is aware of your good intentions, and they do not like them one bit. That’s why their new packaging is designed to make you feel not-so-bad about eating those two-for-three-dollars Big Macs and bring you back into the fold of American junk food eaters. But can a jumble of funky Helvetica letters really make you rethink where you buy your lunch? According to a year's worth of research by Mickey D's, yes.
If you're not familiar, McDonald's current bags and cups are a messy collage of icons, quotes and QR codes designed in 2013 when QR codes were still a thing. The 2016 update features colorful textual graphics on recycled-material brown bags that point toward the company's commitment to be more eco-friendly. The golden arches will now stretch beyond the edge of the bag, (not unlike the way many McDonald's customers tend to stretch beyond the edge of their seat on the subway). Pictures have been replaced with the name of the company/products broken up and repositioned into colorful blocks. In other words, word collages. Basically, they've caught up to your 1996 middle school notebook cover.
The new look hopes to make the burger chain seem modern and progressive, while also duping you into feeling good that you're about to eat enough sodium to salinate a tropical fish tank. "The packaging is intended to create noticeable change for our customers and I'm hoping it makes them feel better about their choice of going to McDonald's," Matt Biespiel, senior director of global brand development at McDonald's told Fast Company. "Unlike other [branding] categories, you receive packaging after you've already made the purchase. The thought for me is, this is about reinforcing the purchase decision—having people feel good about walking down the street holding our bag."