Secret menus and hidden culinary gems might be the latest rage, but a design duo from Monterrey, Mexico will do you one better: a secret society for donut lovers. For the uninitiated, get ready to feast your eyes on The Secret Donut Society, a holy design marriage of Illuminati symbols—topped with sprinkles.
“We were inspired by masonic logics, secret societies, and the Illuminati order,” says Ceci Peralta, who, along with designer José Velázquez, named and did the branding for the underground donut shop. This departure from cliché bakery visuals like cutesy cursive and pretty pastels is a boldness that reflects the Mexican donut shop’s nontraditional flavors and unconventional menu of bacon donuts and Carajillo donuts. Instead, Peralta and Velàzquez focused on creating a truly buzz-worthy brand experience.
“We wanted this to be more than just another donut brand. We thought keeping a certain mystery around the product could turn buying a donut into an experience,” Peralta says. Mystery became the code word for their concept, inspiring old school typography choices, illustrations informed by masonic poster layouts, and business cards and posters of baking-related iconography that look more like chic tarot cards than promotional materials.
The design duo also gives credit to their client, who truly embraced the concept. At first The Secret Donut Society delivered donuts to the customer’s door, but it soon changed its business model to include a “secret drop-off location” where customers had to make an appointment and then answer a few questions in order to be accepted into the society (a.k.a. get their donuts). Even the covert storefront, with its sparse décor and dim lighting, keep up the appearance of a top-secret clubhouse.
So far Peralta and Velàzquez’s identity for this fake secret society have inspired serious FOMO among its clientele on the level of Dominique Ansel’s cronut line-up madness. Although the shop opened its doors mid-March, it’s already amassed a month-long wait list of customers eager to join The Secret Donut Society and “hereby declare to keep the secret alive.”