Fast Food Design

When to invest in a quality creative relationship as opposed to unhealthy piece-meal services.

Over the past 10 years I’ve seen technology change all aspects of my personal and professional life. Nowadays, everything is designed to serve the world of instant “solutions.” This applies to business, romance, banking, dining and pretty much every niche you can think of.

After returning from a volunteer expedition in Western Africa—one that focused on the problem of child malnutrition—I got to thinking about parallel problems that exist in the design industry. When we investigated malnutrition in several Ghanaian communities, in addition to the obvious, we uncovered many different underlying factors that were contributing to malnutrition. Most of us were under the misconception that malnutrition meant a lack of available healthy food. We quickly learned that this was not the case.

Writing on paper

After speaking to over 50 families, we learned that there was an abundance of healthy food options available to villagers that would have resulted in healthier diets for everyone—but instead, most families used most of their money to buy large quantities of heavy carb foods such as Banku (made with fermented corn and cassava dough) and Fufu (made by mashing starchy processed foods in hot water).

When asked why they did this, most individuals replied, “We buy this type of food because it is cheap and keeps us full.” The problem is that feeding such high carb/starch foods to children, particularly during the first three years of life, creates mental and physical side effects that are even life threatening.


As a creative director, I’d have to say that the same rationale too often applies to a brand. A common mistake that a lot of purpose-first entrepreneurs make is forgetting to invest in a well-balanced creative diet. With all of the fast-food-design options on the market, entrepreneurs sometimes order a cheap $100 logo or an inexpensive DIY website because it satisfies an immediate need—like eating Banku and Fufu, the entrepreneur feels full, satisfied and happy, at least for a while. The problem is that junk-food-creative can only take a company so far – eventually branding and marketing materials need to be thoughtfully curated to appeal to a wider audience or companies risk communicating inconsistent and non-cohesive messaging.

A brand is something that needs to be strategically and carefully crafted over time. If you try to sustain a creative diet built around fast-food-design, eventually your brand will become severely malnourished, damaging your appearance and performance.

What is the meaning of this?

I’m guilty of picking up a $1 slice of NYC pizza or grabbing a junior bacon cheeseburger off the value menu from time to time—please don’t tell my wife—but if you eat pizza and hamburgers everyday, you’re going to start seeing and feeling the negative results—and the same goes for your brand. At some point you have to ask yourself, Is your brand well-nourished or have you been feeding it too much junk food?

Junk Food

Design agencies are like restaurants—each comes with a different serving experience, ambiance and menu. Pollen Brands caters to purpose-first entrepreneurs who are looking to grow healthy, meaningful and productive long-term relationships.

We’ll be the first to admit that our menu isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve got an appetite for thoughtful purpose-first creative then give us a call—we’d love to schedule a lunch date!

Joey Rosa and your friends at Pollen