Kanye West calls on Naoto Fukasawa to reimagine McDonald’s packaging

We dive into West’s history with design, and his new partnership with the legendary MUJI product designer, to imagine what we might expect from the new collaboration.

25 May 2022

It’s the collaboration you never knew you needed: Ye, Fukasawa and the golden arches themselves. Yesterday (24 May), Kanye West announced to his personal Instagram a collaboration with “industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa to reimagine McDonald’s packaging”. The post showcased a sneak peek of a re-worked – we’re guessing Big Mac – box, in 8-bit, block industrial fashion, brandishing burger ingredients and the Mcdonald’s logo. The post was accompanied by an Instagram story referencing Gold Digger: “Next week it’s the fries”. Keeping things tantalisingly short and sweet, as is often the case with launches from West, the internet was left, largely lovin’ it, but with many questions. So, here’s the context.

Ye has a long history with design. In fact, in a 2007 interview with Complex, he went as far as to say: “I always say I was a designer before I was a rapper”. While his evolution in the fashion world – going from an internship at GAP in 2009 to his current global ventures with Yeezy – is well known, it’s not the first time West has championed initiatives in design areas. In 2018, West announced the introduction of Yeezy Home, an architectural and product design arm of his fashion empire, beginning work on igloo Star Wars-inspired social housing projects. From Yeezy footwear to Luke Skywalker-inspired housing, forms that bridge the world between functionality and sculptural futuristic visions have always been West’s signature.

This design approach lends itself well to the legacy of Naoto Fukasawa, a creator who has sat at the forefront of the product design world for decades. Best known for his work with Japanese homeware retailer Muji, Fukasawa is the designer behind several singular pieces from graphic design history. Examples include his iconic wall-mounted CD player for Muji in 1999 and his famous 2003 INFOBAR mobile phone, featuring a long, thin, brightly-coloured form. Both were highly unusual for the era, and remain so. Having also designed for Herman Miller, Alessi, B&B Italia, Magis, and HAY, Naoto Fukasawa is renowned for modern, minimalist, outline-led forms that fit seamlessly into and react to people’s everyday lives. Naoto Fukasawa also believes in blurring the line between a product – be it a kitchen fan or chair – and other familiar objects, which makes sense considering his most recent riff on form with West.

Ye’s relationship Mcdonald’s is more surprising, but still pre-existing. A figure in constant collaboration with major brands, from Gap to Adidas, he featured in Mcdonald’s promotional Instagram stories in 2020 revealing his favourite meal – milkshake, side of fries, Chicken McNuggets, and Tangy BBQ sauce, for anyone wondering.

While it’s yet to be revealed if the new Fukasawa, Fifth Element-worthy packaging is an official Mcdonald’s collaboration, we’re hoping the next glimpse into the potential line is a re-imagined Happy meal box.

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Kanye West / Naoto Fukasawa: McDonald’s (Copyright © Kanye West via Instagram @kanyewest 2022)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.

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