Noodles & Company commissioned Thirst to look ten years into the future and design a comprehensive  visual and spatial identity system. Like the noodle itself made from water and flour, our system had a simple recipe — the circle and the signal unit.
Thirst, led by Rick Valicenti, Nick Adam, and Anna Mort, collaborated to design the future of Noodles & Company a publicly-traded, fast-casual restaurant chain, with over 450 locations nationally.
The design process was intensely collaborative. By engaging the strategic messaging of Donna Speigel and interior architecture by Sarah Dunn and Martin Felsen of UrbanLab, a single harmonious design system that speaks to a world of flavor served in a bowl arrived. Since 2019, this work is currently being back-casted from, prototyped, and tested and deployed.
Noodles & Company
Rick Valicenti — Design Direction
Nick Adam — Design
Anna Mort — Design
Zach Minnich —3-Dimensional Renderings
Suzie Shin — Motion Graphics
Urban Lab — Architecture
Donna Speigel — Strategic Messaging

The Noodles mascot is carefully constructed of simple shapes

The circle and the signal unit — like the noodle itself made from water and flour

An approach called ‘dogleg’ was designed for 3-color usage

Use any color, but when using 3 colors the ‘dogleg’ method is a must

Mascot applications

Nourish the world with beauty

Noodle shapes in use

Typeface as signature — sustainable guidelines for the in-house design team

Simple composition guidelines demonstrating infinite possibilities

Custom lettering direction and examples — look cool

Multi-media art direction and examples — deliver ah-ha

Photo art direction and examples — relaxed presentation of food

Pattern applications on cups — small, medium, and large

Fun with noodle names

Teaching moment

It’s a Noodles world

My Noodles

Noodles make smiles

Typographic flavor

Discover bold flavors

The future of Noodles

Years of campaign and environmental design work

Prototype rendering from UrbanLab

Stoodles — custom furniture for the Noodle’s lounge

Variable pattern

Private label condiments

ToGo signage

Patio umbrella

Front entry

Pattern logic

Food trucks

Caps to match store palate or align with regional teams — Mets, Nets and Cubs

Team member’s choice — button-down or apron

Branded totes

Uniforms that celebrate each team-members own identity

Keeping guests updated

Noo modes of communication 

Kids bowl with a place for the vegetable sides

Prototype of a Noodles toy

Annual award graphics

Celebrate your staff

Commemorative poster and trophy

Simply be Boulder

Design Process

Valicenti’s notes from day one

Initial sketches of the mascot and circular equites

The world, the bowl, and the noodle

Meeting notes in situ

Getting noodley came quick

Early idea — al dente noodle as mascot

Many signatures quickly designed and discussed in initial testing sessions

Simple ingredients — the circle and the single unit

Custom type contrasted with more legible type was tested and discussed

How we dismissed early work

The first presentation began and ended with this slide

Images of Anthony Bordian’s global travels inspired custom furniture

Stoodle schematic

Test prototype of Stoodle

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