HOW International Competition Best of Show: Growing a Burger Brand

There’s only one way to make a burger brand stand out among a seemingly endless sea of sandwiches. Make it a burger joint unlike any of them. Don’t just stop with locally baked buns. Keep tapping on that ketchup bottle for more goodness.

When the entrepreneurs behind family-owned MyBurger, which had been in business for six years, were ready to explore opening a second location in Minneapolis, they were looking for more than a new restaurant design. They were eager to create a flagship store that would fuel an aggressive growth plan to enable MyBurger to be localized to any region. And they knew just the Minneapolis agency to tap.

That agency, FAME, has graced many pages of HOW’s International Design Awards annuals these past few years—and its design project for MyBurger scored the Best of Show award this year. The 70-person agency got its start working with Target, but has since branched out to other types of clients, many in the retail industry.

A Different Kind of Design Project

01_myburger_logosMyBurger’s team and FAME had worked together once before on a restaurant concept that never took flight. So this time, the two agreed on a unique stock arrangement that differed from the agency’s traditional compensation model. FAME took equity in MyBurger in place of retainer fees, making them more than just creative partners, but also business partners vested in the success of the brand.

“When you’re serving a [typical] client, they tend to have the ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ on what moves forward,” says Bruce Edwards, FAME chief creative officer. With all clients, the agency asks, “How do you make it a dynamic brand?” The same was true with the MyBurger project, but “it opened a different type of dialog with the client that allowed us to have more control in what actually happened,” Edwards says. It was a unique partnership in that the client wanted the boundary-pushing creative concepts that they knew FAME could bring to the table. “It takes the right personalities to make that be successful,” Edwards says of the partnership compensation model.

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From the MyBurger logo and in-store environmental graphics to the product packaging, FAME nailed every aspect of this design project. “Definitely one of my favorites,” says judge Noreen Morioka. “Smart, fun and, most of all, well-crafted.”

The energy of the brand overhaul doesn’t stop with the graphic elements, refreshed color palette, custom type and original illustrations. The brand beckons consumers (and judges alike) to sink their teeth in further with the attention to detail found where you least expect it.

Take, for instance, the copywriting for this brand of “Flippin’ Good Burgers.” It’s conversational and even funny. Look closer at the Pop-Art inspired mustard installation. Yeah, the labels on those bottles are talking to diners: “Yello. Mustard here.”


Edwards says that the agency values each and every creative team member as a critical spoke on the wheel. “The copy, tone of voice, idea behind it—all of it comes together. It’s communicating in a bigger way,” he says. “That’s how we think about the whole group here. … At the end of the day, we’re about making things better.”

The voices of customers also have been instrumental to completing the brand overhaul. The creative team was happy to hear during the research phase that core customers cared as much or more about the space and their experience at the restaurant as they did about the food. This feedback helped fuel an aggressive revamp of the interior.


Even as the brand is poised for expansion outside of the region with the new look, it still feels very personal to its locale. A vibrant mural touts a nautical theme in respect to its location near Lake Calhoun. Look up, and you’ll see wood panels adorned with the names of nearby streets.

The new identity and localization approach have resonated so strongly with customers since launching over a year ago, that MyBurger and FAME are now working together on the restaurant design for a new location in Minneapolis. Edwards hints that the interior will likely showcase locally based elements, like the nearby university and football stadium.

One thing that’s certain is that the new location’s interior will likely energize consumers with its comfortable industrial aesthetic that exudes authenticity, all while staying true to MyBurger’s roots.

Title: MyBurger Rebrand & Environmental Design
Design Firm: FAME, Minneapolis
Creative Team: Bruce Edwards, chief creative officer/art director; 
Nick Smasal, designer; Julie Feyerer, copywriter; Conrad 
Chin, environmental design
Client: MyBurger

how_magazine_march_2013_cover_3Editor’s note: The above article originally appeared in the March 2013 International Design Annual