Gordo Taqueria

Taquerias have been a staple of the San Francisco food scene for decades, known around the country for their Mission-style burritos. Gordo Taqueria was one of the originals: they’ve been serving up heavenly tacos and burritos to counter-culture Californians since 1977. Since they already had the kind of food people stood in line for, all they needed was a brand experience that made them stand out from the slew of other Mexican-inspired eateries. They also wanted to expand their franchise beyond California. Our challenge was to create a brand that could stay true to its loyal base as it scaled to serve new locations and customers.

We knew that Gordo’s 40-year legacy was an asset that should be highlighted during their rebrand. That meant looking to the past to inform the future — nodding to the history their customers had come to know and love. The goal was to welcome a new wave of clientele with a modern brand while allowing nostalgia to keep a seat at the table. We chose an approach that was inspired by Gordo’s roots in San Francisco and the rich heritage of Mexican food.

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Our exploration led us to a sans-serif logotype approach that evokes lighthearted fun, into which we worked some handmade character that reflects the authentic food preparation. We created an elaborately storied system around it that feels friendly, heritage-rich, and community-focused by layering patterns and vibrant colors with symbols that blend Mexican and San Franciscan pride.

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We created their marketing site to be a full-on fiesta of the heritage-driven narrative. After defining a cheeky verbal identity and visual language strategy, we sprinkled some fun Spanglish copy over quirky graphic tableaux. Infusing the design with vibrant colors, hand-lettered type, and a comical series of illustrations we fondly titled “Los Tontos,” the site took on a life of its own. Appealing to newcomers and diehard fans alike, the new user experience we designed and implemented in development allowed the Gordo team to take online orders, showcase their new locations, and update their ever-evolving menu with ease.

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