What is Taco Tapir?
It’s the best psuedo-Central American/Mexican fusion food that three dollars can buy, that’s what. Or so we can only theorize, as Taco Tapir was created as a fictional taco to win a presidential seat, and the creation of the Taco Tapir was something in and of itself. The Art direction, and therefore the creation of Taco Tapir, fell to me.
My first step was to create the character of Taco Tapir itself, an enigmatic character created by a company that may or may not actually know what a tapir is. As such, I spent some time wondering about what kind of cute-ing up a fictional chain would do to a tapir, but then I drew this and realized that they’d do nothing to change the tapir, as it is perfect the way it is:
From here, I got working on different styles for this tapir: How do the ears work? How about its adorable and telling paunch? Should it wear a hat? Should it have Maracas? What about a mustache? You can see plenty of the process in this page from my sketchbook:
And so once I had the Taco Tapir shape figured out, as well as its hat, etc. I compiled together the final character design and finished phase one. The next step was to create taco wrappers and a fictional brand identity for the Taco Tapir restaurant chain. Again: Do they know that Tapirs are primarily South American? Does this factor in to their presentation of Mexican food? Do they even serve Mexican food? I decided to go for an Incan feel, and keep many of the questions of what kind of food Taco Tapir serves largely as a mystery (I think they’re South American fusion myself). I went through a variety of wrapper evolutions, each time focusing on how to make the overall product believably and well designed and ways to incorporate more and more of the South American feel of Taco Tapir.
The final design turned out well, I think. The only thing I may have changed is the blank space in each of the quadrants, and I’m still not sure about all of the colors used in the wrapper (after all, wouldn’t this be too pricey to mass produce for a restaurant that sells cheap, cheap, CHEAP tacos?). But, I feel the design certainly reached a good point, and it ended up just fine. It’s a shame it never made it into the final film.
Once the Taco Tapir wrapper was completed, and once I had a firmer grasp on Taco Tapirs aesthetic and advertising feel, I created this short Taco Tapir commercial for publicity and to be used in the larger film work “Write-In 2012” (which will be discussed at a later point). Enjoy, and vote for flavor.