Al Carbon
Brand Identity

Our brief was a tweet. Less than 140 characters. "Wanted: Dynamic and motivated designer to spruce up the Al Carbon truck before we hit the streets of Sydney."

In an inspiring and intimate warehouse (doubling as La Lupita, up until recently, a twice weekly pop up restaurant before moving to The Basement) we met Attila Yilmaz to discuss the opportunity to brand his colossal food truck over tacos, raspados and some Mexican beers.

Attila was about to launch Al Carbon as part of the City of Sydney's licensed food trucks trial. A retired policeman, Al Carbon (which means 'over charcoal') was Attila's chance to throw himself into something he loved, food. After some time travelling around Mexico, Attila had discovered authentic ways to cook Mexican food, coupled with hints of inspiration from his father and his Turkish roots.

Inspired by our surroundings, we had an idea. What if we could transport our studio to the warehouse and do something we'd never done before - Create a brand in a day. So one Saturday, we transported a mix of 20 interior and graphic designers, writers, strategists, management and client service people, macs and flipcharts to La Lupita. The process was fluid, but with frequent scheduled meetings to keep us on track. Leaders of each team would come together each hour to discuss ideas, agree direction and to allow Attila to be involved every step of the way. We developed a customer journey, social media strategy, brand identity and graphics for the truck as well as the story of Al Carbon. We literally created a brand in a day.

We agreed that the brand of Al Carbon would be a mythical place. Everything on the truck would be the best of Al Carbon.' The best chef of Al Carbon, the juiciest limes, the sweetest pineapple. Wherever the food truck pulled up it would transform the space it occupied. Visitors would enter the world of Al Carbon. To communicate the idea, we conceived the brand as a tourist campaign. 'Visit Al Carbon.' In transit, the truck was a big tourism ad for itself. When static, it became Al Carbon the place. We used bins to create a perimeter around the truck, so visitors literally cross the border and are asked to abandon all Mexican cliché's like moustaches and sombrero's. This was to be an authentic experience after all! We designed immigracion, where customers order their tacos and drinks. And we focused the queue along the side of the flame grilling barbecue where the theatre of cooking the meat captivated all the senses.

Al Carbon has been a resounding success. Launching at the Feast festival in Sydney, Attila served more than 800 people in one night. Just recently, a smaller version of the truck was a big hit at Splendour in Byron Bay. The Good Food Guide, named it in their review of best new places to eat, claiming 'hands down best taco's in Sydney' and Sydney's most popular bloggers have been raving about the food and the experience that is on offer. Oh, and we won an innovation award for the work within our own Interbrand network ;-)
We're incredibly proud to have played a part in helping Al Carbon be a success. Seeing the queues and the smile on Attila's face has made it all very worthwhile.


Designed at Interbrand

  • Concept: 19 Interbranders one Saturday
  • Creative Directors: Chris Maclean, Mike Rigby
  • Designers: Chris Maclean, Dan Ingham, Eric Ng, Diana Chirilas, Jefton Sungkar, Jessica Waal, Flicka Davison