Hungry for a logo change? These brands were!

For most restaurants, the company logo is the most visible and recognizable element of the brand. Three year olds who can’t string together complete sentences light up at the sight of the golden arches, and Pizza Hut’s logo got launched into space.

But there comes an interesting point in time for many companies where they change the logo. Today I want to break down why these changes are made, what the results look like.

5. Hooters

I’m going to try hard to be fair about this without judging the underlying companies’ business models. Clearly the Hooters brand stands for something, and if you’re proud of that, you’ll want to stick close to it. But this redesign misses an opportunity to retain the fun while clearing up some of the glaring weaknesses (bland colours, lumpy typeface, uneven strokes).

That said, I don't know that Hooters' clientele is going there for the logo anyway. 

4. TGI Fridays

Let’s be clear; the gap between fifth and fourth here is huge. TGI Fridays’ update is pretty decent, actually. I like it, in fact; the candy striping is retained, the font modernized, the whole look is cleaned up. If anything is missing, perhaps, it’s the soul.

It appears TGI Fridays modernized everything effectively, but it’s like a house that’s a little too clean and tidy. And if it’s true that they modernized to keep up with the local watering holes that are crowding them out, well, maybe a little more soul is what they needed. Maybe bring back the lowercase “i” in “FRiDAYS”. Who knows, maybe embrace brand integration and start handing exiting customers cherry lozenges instead of mints.

3. Olive Garden

For many, the jury is still out on this Olive Garden change. Some like it’s flat simplicity, while @the_blueprint said on Twitter that it looks “like it was drawn with a breadstick.” (I’m pretty sure he meant that demeaningly; at any rate, many people dislike the new design.)

It looks to me like Olive Garden has recognized who they are. Every city in North America has a list of beloved restaurants where you can go to get real Italian flavours; Olive Garden doesn’t make any of those lists. They’ve recognized that they lost the war against the authentic Italian restaurants for foodies; they’re now competing against the other chains for families and working lunches. And for appealing to those crowds, the warm easy-to-read script and the unthreatening olive branch might just work.

2. Wendys

Two fast-food restaurants top this list. This makes sense, since they invest disproportionately in branding. (You’re competing against McDonald’s, after all.)

Wendy’s took an outdated look and refreshed it. Wendy looks happier, more carefree and light. The text is unencumbered by bulky signage (although something about the curve of the text looks uneven). It still looks old-fashioned—which if “old fashioned hamburgers” are your thing—probably isn’t the worst thing in the world. All in all, it’s a nice update.

But even the Wendy’s update could learn a few things from the Colonel.

1. KFC

KFC’s previous logo didn’t look as old as Wendy’s, but because they weren’t going for a retro feel, it certainly looked dated. But you might not have noticed if their update hadn’t come around and put the old logo to shame. You never realized how old the colonel looked, how muddled his features looked, how bland the colours looked, until you saw his age melt away in the sharp lines and clear contrast of the new logo. Plus, they put an apron on him, which is a clever way to tie him back to the food.


What are your favourite logos? Any logo changes lately that you’ve loved or hated? Let’s talk about it in the comments, and I might throw them into a future post!

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