Creating a universal packaging design system for McDonald’s across 119 countries globally

Organised thinking was really needed when we took on the massive task of breaking new ground and creating an iconic fresh look for McDonald’s global packaging, serving 70million customers a day across 119 countries. An idea driven by the concept of creating local cultural freedom within a global framework.

McDonald’s Global Packaging

As brand architects for McDonald’s, our mission was to create a beautifully simple design system that amplified their food quality stories across the globe to help shift perceptions from “fast food” to “good food fast”. The design system, guidelines and global training and engagement workshops facilitated consistent implementation of the design across 119 countries.

An organisational challenge

Creating one brand solution that connects with consumers around the World; “global voice, local accent” delivered through 1,500 unique packaging designs, in 39 cultural versions and 24 language variants.


Our collaborative approach drove the first truly global marketing initiative in McDonald’s system and delivered 100% uptake of the packaging across the world.

Design that works

McDonald’s runs one of the largest food service operations on the planet with 37,000 restaurants in 120 countries serving an average of 69 million customers a day.

Due to it’s size it makes delivering a truly global marketing initiative very difficult. Packaging is the only marketing vehicle (outside of digital) in the system that is guaranteed to reach all 69 million customers daily – directly into their hands.

In order to achieve this, we had to overcome some exceptional hurdles; to create one design solution that connects with consumers across the world; to engage over 200 global franchisee ‘clients’ (aligning marketing, operations, supply chain, legal, R&D and menu development); to create a methodology that works with a globally decentralised packaging production system and creates global brand guardianship.


  • Packaging is valuable brand media, creating over 60 billion brand impressions, globally. Every year.
  • Post programme implementation Europe, McDonald’s “Good Quality Food” score had increased by +37 index points.
  • 100% uptake of the global packaging system – some countries still featured packaging from the 1990’s and 2000’s!
  • 1,500 unique packaging designs
  • 39 cultural variants delivered in 30 months with
  • 0% stock wastage-reducing time to market by 24% and saving $US 1.4m of budget

supply chain testimonial

It’s obvious that the collaboration, process and investment in managing this the right way are evident in everything you’re doing. Performance to date is better than all other stuff we’ve ever attempted to do globally. You’re thinking of everything and doing all the right things. This is best practice. You’ve exceeded our expectation in delivery.

Jerome Lyman - McDonald’s VP Global Supply Chain McDonald's
Jerome Lyman - McDonald’s VP Global Supply Chain