Chloe Norman on her fun character designs for an award-winning restaurant

The illustrator and designer helped take two friends’ restaurant idea from humble beginnings to awards success. She explains the challenges involved and how she met them.

From Bidenomonics to Romantasy, everyone loves a good portmanteau – the technical term for two words joined together. The best examples don’t even need to be explained: it’s immediately obvious that, for example, ‘boxercise’ is a mixture of boxing and exercise.

Others, though, may take a little more work, especially when written down. And we must admit that the first time we saw the word ‘Brorritos’, we didn’t instantly suss that it was a combination of ‘Bro’ and ‘burritos’.

It’s a clever word combo nonetheless, and thankfully, the founders of this new fast-food brand had the sense to commission brand mascots that could sell the idea visually, helping its meaning become immediately obvious.

Illustrator Chloe Norman
rose to the challenge, bringing the concept to life in a fun and inclusive way. So, we were keen to chat with her and find out how she went about it.

Extending the logo

Chloe, an animator, illustrator, and graphic designer based in southeast London, was given the assignment by two university friends who wanted to make it in the Mexican takeaway space. “The two characters are a development of the core element of their brand: the ‘o’ in the logo,” she explains. “The elongated ‘o’ represents a burrito, so bringing this element into the characters worked seamlessly.

“They wanted to give a nod to smoking weed and the ‘uni-lifestyle’ where they originally met,” she continues. “So the copy and elements of the characters subtly point to that. You’ll spot the halftone overlay in their eyes, enough to be suggestive, but without completely tarnishing the brand or their customers.”

Indeed, the target audience was uppermost in her mind during the ideation process. “As a takeaway restaurant, you get such an array of customers, and it’s important not to think of only a small section of them,” she explains. So, after a solid brand discovery session and consistent communication with the client, we pinpointed the best ways to play on their target market’s humour and visually represent their humble beginnings, too.”

Personal inspiration

Continuing with the theme of how the two owners met, each ‘bro’ has subtle parallels with the two owners of Brorritos.

“In our sessions, they admitted that Marco was the more creative half of the business, focusing on brand photography, creative briefs, and social presence,” Chloe explained. “Whereas Samet was a little more business-minded and focused on the behind-the-scenes and finances, amongst other things. You’ll spot in the characters that the first bro, Marco, has his cap backwards, and the second bro, Samet, doesn’t.

“Although this is a really small change, it made all the difference in differentiating them as kind of a yin and yang, which has also been a huge strength in their business.”

Collaborating on the copy was quite a funny experience, she adds. “Finding the balance of just enough references to smoking and rolling joints while keeping it family-friendly overall was a really fine line. But we eventually landed on ‘The perfect roll-up every time’. This focused on the quality of their food whilst still adding a sprinkling of humour.”

Humble beginnings

The results are first-rate: we love these fun characters, and they certainly give the brand a distinctive feel that’s vital for survival in such a competitive marketplace. So it surprised us to learn, firstly, that this was Chloe’s first project for the takeaway sector – her main experience is in healthcare design – and secondly, that its initial scope was much more limited.

“The project started as a t-shirt design for the staff,” explains Chloe. “But after some discussion, it was clear there were so many more touchpoints: takeaway bags, stickers for orders, social content, and loyalty cards. It’s been so great to see it all out in the real world, and I can’t wait for more projects like this one.

And Brorritos itself? In autumn 2023, it won UberEats London Restaurant of the Year.

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