Chicken-Fried Design

A new book celebrates the logos, signs, and menus of fried-chicken joints.

One of my favorite architecture books of the last few years was the MIT Press’s reissue of White Towers, a slender photographic tribute to the defunct hamburger chain, which for more than four decades occupied a series of elegant little white castles. Now Mark Batty Publisher has released a new entry in the growing genre of fast-food-design appreciation: Chicken: Low Art, High Calorie, a celebration of the menus, signs, and logos of some of America’s and England’s greasiest fried-chicken joints. Whereas White Towers was academic and austere, Chicken is a riotous hodgepodge of amateur snapshots and awkward portraits of store owners and employees. If it feels a bit cheap and hastily put together, well, what could be more appropriate for the world of Chicken Shack, Hen Cottage, ChickPizz, and the inimitable Lick’n Chick’n?

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