McDonald’s is one of the most popular fast-food chains in the world. It has been serving millions of customers each year, keeping its quality maintained and consistent. Furthermore, it is also one of those brands that have been running successfully for decades. McDonald’s has an amazing history. Today, McDonald’s is identified by its iconic ‘M’ logo. Its striking yellow color is most abundantly found in America, where people have a huge love for fries, burgers, and ice cream.
Surprisingly, the history behind McDonald’s iconic logo is as interesting as its offerings. Over the year, the brand has created such a strong brand identity that it is hard for anyone to overtake. Therefore, let us discover how the iconic McDonald logo came about and its evolution.
McDonald’s was introduced by two brothers Maurice and Richard McDonald. At the time, McDonald’s was located in San Bernardina, California. It was when McDonald’s’ only specialized in making burgers and barbecues. However, as time passed, the brothers were able to gather specialties to produce delicious fast food in no time. It took them 8 years to gather the expertise but it was all worth it.
Since the brothers were pretty fast with the deliveries, they wanted to make their ‘Speeder Service System’ popular by producing a logo. As a result, they came up with a chubby chef, holding a placard of hamburgers as McDonald’s very first logo.
As already mentioned, the iconic logo of McDonald’s is as fascinating as its overall history. With time, as McDonald’s worked towards bettering its services and food quality, the logo as well went through numerous transitions. McDonald’s was growing rapidly and therefore, it was imperative that the logo did as well.
The Logo is Born
The story of McDonald’s began as a drive-in restaurant, known as “The Airdrome“. It was introduced by Patrick McDonald. Soon, after three years, both Patrick and Richard McDonald renamed the establishment and called it ‘McDonald’s’.
As the business was expanding, the brothers decided that they needed a bigger and better workplace to serve their growing customers. They had intended to purchase a new building, which would house the kitchen and serving areas. However, it needed to be efficient so that they could maintain their speedy delivery as well. For this reason, Stanley Clark Meston was hired, who took the initial idea belonging to one of the brothers. The idea featured a rough sketch of two arches drawn.
Meston and his assistant went to work and came up with a logo that gave off an energetic vice. This was the birth of the McDonald’s iconic golden arches logo that would settle itself amongst the hearts of fast food lovers for years to come.
However, before we move on to discuss the evolution of the logo, let us take a brief look at its salient features.
The very first thing any customer would observe is the arches and for the right reasons. The arches are the most prominent feature besides the color and shape. The logo is basically symbolic of the arches featured in the newly-constructed restaurant back in 1952. After Ray Kroc took over and looked after the business, he decided to incorporate two arches that would come together to form the new McDonald’s logo like the letter ’M’.
The logo became an icon within several years. Nobody could have imagined that a brand that initially took off as a drive-in restaurant would become probably the biggest fast-food name in the business.
McDonald’s primarily made use of two colors i.e. Golden and Red in its logo. The Golden color represented the famous arches of the franchised restaurant, whereas the Red color represented the food industry of the company. If customers are not able to identify the brand by its shape, they would definitely recognize it by its striking color combination. Such was the visual appearance of the logo.
1968: The ‘M’ Logo
Ray Kroc was never completely satisfied with the logos of the company. He constantly sought minor makeovers to make them more appealing. One such example took place in 1968 when Kroc decided to give the logo a slight change. By redesigning the logo, he removed the double arches and instead joined them to make them look like the letter ‘M’. Then, he placed the name of the company in the logo. The logo remained the identity of the brand for around 35 years until it underwent iteration again in 2003.
2003: ‘I’m Lovin’ it’
The McDonald’s logo underwent several changes from 1968 to 2003. However, none of them was as iconic as the ‘I’m Lovin it’ logo introduced in 2003. It was not a mere logo but a campaign run by McDonald’s to highlight what its customers felt about it and used that to further market itself.
The biggest highlight of the campaign was the logo created and designed by Heye& Partner GmBH. Furthermore, the team made some changes to the original shape of the logo and the most notable feature was the cylindrical arches and the shadow.
It became the most successful marketing slogan in history, which remains relevant to this day as well.
Salient Business Characteristics of the Logo
Although the logos have significantly helped McDonald’s develop a concrete-like brand identity, it has also served as the perfect example of how businesses should communicate themselves. The first thing you shall notice is that the logos have always been simple. With the passage of time, the company has eliminated unnecessary characters and ended up with a simple logo with an excellent tag line. Since a logo is supposed to be simple, meaningful, and budget-friendly, the McDonald’s logo is the perfect example a business should consider.
Color combination is one of the most important ways to communicate a message. An iconic logo will make use of one or at most two colors to send its customers a message. McDonald’s wanted its customers to feel excited and happy when they thought of the logo or looked at it. It featured an energetic vibe that was loved by everyone. Therefore, instead of confusing the customers, a brand should use a minimalistic color combination to send out a clear message.
Conveying the brand’s message
The logo of a brand should convey a clear message to the world, especially the customers. The message is a way to tell the customers what the brands stand for. For instance, Nike uses the swoosh design to convey that it makes the right shoes for the right people i.e. the athletic and sports personalities. Similarly, the McDonalds logo conveys that it works and serves to provide the best quality fast food to its customers.
Concluding, the McDonald’s logo goes down as one of the most iconic logos in history. It has continuously inspired several businesses and individuals. With a sea of competitors existing, one could imagine the intensity of the competition and the struggle of McDonald’s to remain relevant. Even though customers have plenty of options to choose from, the majority of them still choose McDonald’s as it is tried, tested, and stands strong on its principles.