Chipotle Bag: Mistake Cover-up or Insider Joke for Graphic Designers?

Posted on Mar 19, 2013
Chipotle Bag: Mistake Cover-up or Insider Joke for Graphic Designers?

Chipotle is one of my favorite healthy-ish, cheap, quick, places for lunch. I especially love it when I get one of their to-go bags with Lorem Ipsum emblazoned on the side. Why? When designers are creating a layout but don’t have text yet from the client, they will enter Latin placeholder text which starts with the two words “Lorem Ipsum”. Before the item goes to print or is released online, the designer replaces the Lorem Ipsum with the actual text.

The question is: could the use of a placeholder text actually be intentional or is it indeed a mistake? It seems unlikely that such a large company would let a packaging flaw get through production, but it can happen. Old Navy has had it’s share of embarrassing designs printed on T-shirts which were put on sale in stores. In 2011, the company unveiled a line of collegiate T’s, three of which had the wrong founding dates. The shirts were pulled from the shelves, but Old Navy had more shirts recalled later in the year for a similar printing error. Fact checkers beware! Could Chipotle have fallen victim to a production mistake as well?

Well, I have found out the real truth. In a public comment on AIGA’s blog, AJ Kieffer, associate creative director of Sequence, explained that the design is indeed deliberate. He refers to the oddity as an “easter egg”, a term that is often associated with finding certain items or unlocking hidden messages in movies or on websites. Unless they are a designer, most people won’t even recognize this little inside joke. Kieffer says they used the tactic to create some buzz around the new designs for Chipotle. Seems they have done just that. (…Or spun the best PR story ever to cover up an embarrassing gaff.)