Throughout the world major fast-food chains are easily recognizable, synonymous, for better or worse, with an American way of life. Far more interesting, however, are the generic fast-food establishments that serve menus that are more or less the same as their corporate counterparts, but not as slicked with marketing.
A subgenre of such eateries, found across the United Kingdom and urban America, is the chicken joint. Offering fried chicken, French fries, burgers and an array of Indian and Middle Eastern-inspired items, these restaurants are countless, though they all share similar qualities. Called such names as Perfect Fried Chicken and Tennessee Fried Chicken, these are not franchises, but individual establishments that happen to use the similar names and looks, though no two are the same. It is these differences that Chicken: Low Art, High Calorie comprises, showcasing a vivid vernacular design culture.
With photographs of menus, logos, lettering and menus, and an interview with the founder of the London-based business responsible for making most of the city’s chicken joint signage, Chicken: Low Art, High Calorie celebrates the varied visual qualities of fast-food signage. On the surface it may all look the same, but the differences reflect a ubiquitous, and humorous, design aesthetic that cannot be ignored.