In 1983 surfer Ralph Rubio introduced the Original Fish Taco to America. Starting with a small shack in downtown San Diego, by 2013 the brand had grown to over 190 stores along the West Coast.

The Formation were commissioned to undertake a complete brand redesign as the company prepared to develop both its offering and positioning , in a move away from the traditional quick service model into the more aspirational fast casual sector, as Rubio’s Coastal Grill.

Instructed  to retain the name but with a fresher signature green we developed the logotype to create a more balanced piece of typography and introduced the ‘fave’  icon (a mix of fish and wave) which became the shorthand signature for the brand.

The interiors took their inspiration from the company’s marketing mantra: “to the ocean”. Pebbles from local beaches informed the choice of floor tiles, glass mosaic and patterned  stainless steel reflected the marine life and water droplets became handblown glass lights.

The layouts of the stores were addressed to create two hotspots. Firstly the main counter containing the ‘impulse alley’ and secondly the signature salsa bar - a unique feature offering range of amazing complimentary handmade salsas.

Provenance graphics that playfully celebrate the ingredients and processes sit alongside ocean-inspired art installations and sustainable packaging.

Following the success of the pilot store (revenues increased by over 17%) a further 20 stores have been remodeled with the entire estate to follow, plus 7 new store openings are planned for 2015.

Rubio’s was recently voted ‘Best Mexican Restaurant Chain in America’.