Wilbur Mexicana's icon. Wilbur Mexicana's icon. Wilbur Mexicana's icon. Wilbur Mexicana's icon. Wilbur Mexicana's icon.

Wilbur Mexicana

Spicing Up Fast Casual with a Savoury Brand Journey


Brand Strategy & Positioning Creative Direction Naming Brand Identity Brand & Marketing Collateral Packaging Brand Guidelines

Wilbur Mexicana is a Mexican restaurant in the Fast Casual category, an emerging Canadian market that offers a higher quality dining experience than the typical QSR format we’ve become accustomed to.

Wilbur Mexicana's logo.
Wilbur Mexicana's entrance area at night.
Wilbur Mexicana's nacho chips with guac and salsa.

With little connection to Mexican cuisine, founders Will and Baird Cumberland recognized they would have a difficult time competing in a category dominated by appeals to authenticity. Instead, they would focus on the advantages offered by the Fast Casual format using Mexican cuisine as the springboard for a truly unique dining experience.

Wilbur Mexicana's logo with different coloured backgrounds.
Wilbur Mexicana's restaurant interior.
Typography of

Jacknife-led sessions developed a strategy and name anchored in the approach: a brand experience that is better not only because the food is great, but because it is designed to be better; because it is the result of a carefully formulated chemistry unshackled from tradition. Professor Wilbur Scoville, a chemist responsible for the Scoville Scale used to measure the heat of peppers, provided the inspiration for an approachable name with little baggage attached. His work permeates the way we talk about Mexican cuisine and yet he maintains an outsider status that reflects the core of the brand.

Entrance of Wilbur Mexicana's restaurant.
Wilbur Mexicana's menu on a table.
Half eaten nachos in Wilbur Mexicana's takeout container.

Seeking to avoid the typical cues of the category, the visual system traded in well-worn clichés like luchadors and hand-drawn sugar skulls, for elements where the worlds of chemistry, design and Mexican culture collide: hexagons, line work and found art from the apothecary to the back pages of dusty comic books all come to life in a high contrast palette of yellow and black. The Wilbur wordmark takes its inspiration from the iconic inline typography of the 1970 Mexico World Cup and the complete system includes alternate marks with an illustrated Scoville Scale featuring Professor Scoville himself in various states of pepper-induced distress.

Wilbur Mexicana's poster of its heat units.
Laptop display of Wilbur Mexicana's website.
Collage of pictures of construction workers building Wilbur Mexicana's restaurant.

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