One of the leading fast-food giants, the modern and urban face of globalization, the fast-food restaurant McDonald’s is renowned for its logo as much as for its flavorsome food. The M-shaped golden arches are often taken as synonymous with fast food itself. Such an impactful logo design has a long history of decades to boast of.
History of the McDonald’s Logo Design
1937: Establishment of ‘The Airdome’:
The history of this logo design is rooted in the year 1937 when Patrick McDonald opened up a small restaurant named ‘The Airdome.’ This drive-in was to become the McDonald’s that we all know today, but not before going through a series of changes in business as well as its branding and logo design.
1940: The enterprise of McDonald’s:
Taking charge of ‘The Airdome,’ Patrick’s two sons, Maurice and Richard Mc Donald moved the business to San Bernardino in 1940, changing the name to ‘Mc Donald’s,’ embarking on a journey of this restaurant’s evolution, transforming it into one of the world’s most iconic food brands.
What strikes me most about this iconic food brand is the prominent logo design, known as the ‘Golden Arches,’ strongly connected with the success story of this fast-food chain.
1948: The Speedy Service logo:
Before the conception of the Golden Arches logo, the brand was represented in the market by the Speedy Service Logo in 1948. However, as the business was undergoing a metamorphosis, the McDonald brothers laid the foundations of a novel method of providing quick fast-food service to satiate craving and hungry customers. This led to the establishment of the ‘Speedee Service System.’ To make their service speedy, one of the measures taken by the brothers was that they quit serving barbecue at McDonald’s.
This speedy nature of their service at McDonald’s was graphically represented in the market by a logo with a winking chef with the brand’s name written on top. Years later, the brand adopted the M-shaped logo.
The Golden Arches logo owes its creation to Stanley Clark Meston, the architect the McDonald’s brothers hired in 1952 to overhaul and transform their business. He redesigned the restaurant’s premises and created the Golden Arches, the inspiration behind MMcDonald’smassively successful and appealing logo. However, the idea of the golden arches was originally Richard’s, as he felt it was more attention-grabbing and easily noticeable from a distance, even in heavy traffic.
Ray Kroc joined the brothers in 1955 as their manager. Having worked as a salesperson before, Kroc used his insightful business skills to expand the business and make the brand known nationwide.
The turning point for the business and the establishment of the logo design arrived in 1961 when Kroc brought the business in a deal worth more than 2.5 million dollars. This astronomical deal jumpstarted business for McDonald’s and led to its growth and evolution as a powerful brand.
1961: Inception of the Golden Arches’ logo:
Also, in the same year, as the new owner of McDonald’s, Kroc gave the brand a new logo, unique and representative of their restaurant. Hence, he decided to incorporate the arches of the recently designed architecture by Meston into it and made the arches overlap and look like the letter’ M.’ For executing the designing process of the logo, Kroc called on board Jim Schindler and Fred Turner.
Thus, he created the first version of the legendary logo, an image with overlapping golden arches and a golden line running through. It was the first time that the Golden Arches graphically represented this fast-food brand in the market. This new logo image successfully represented McDonald’s in the market for the next 50 years.
1968: Emergence of the letter ‘M’ logo:
With business rapidly expanding and growing, Kroc worked continuously on restyling and upgrading the brand’s image and logo in the market. The first step Kroc took was the improvement and enhancement of the logo. In 1968, he omitted the line crossing the arches. Also, he decided to remain close to the original design and worked on the golden arches. Instead of overlapping, he connected them, giving them the form of the alphabet. He included the brand’s name in the logo. He inserted it inside the letter’ M.’ The company used this logo of McDonald’s for graphic representation in the market for over thirty years.
2003: The slogan ‘I’m lovin’ its logo:
In 2003, after several modifications and alterations, the brand developed a heavily influential and powerful version of its iconic logo, making it an inspiration for most logo designers. This version of the logo included the globally successful slogan of the company, ‘I’m lovin’ it.’ This logo was one of the most successful marketing campaigns in June 2003. Apart from that, the logo design was renovated as well. The new designers behind this version were Heye& Partner GmbH. In addition, a shadow for the letter ‘M’ was included, and the letter ‘M’ itself was remodeled and given a cylindrical 3-D appearance. This version of the logo has been representing McDonald’s in the market ever since.
McDonald’s logo has undergone several modifications and changes as the brand evolved and reformed its identity and image over a huge period. However, it is evident that the logo shares its rich history with the brand and plays a major role in establishing its image in the market.
What validates the power and glory of this brand is the massively popular golden logo that is easily recognizable globally. People of any nationality or language easily identify and recognize the M-shaped logo and what it symbolizes. This logo is considered n integral part of this colossal fast-food restaurant’s brand value, estimated to be more than 40 billion dollars.
The element that remained consistent throughout the entire process of modification, however, is the symbolic image of the Golden Arches. The sleek design of this logo and its simplicity make it memorable for generations of food lovers and graphic designers. Being one of the most identifiable images of modern times, this logo successfully represents the brand McDonald’s and its legacy of quality food and reliable services over decades.
Bio: My name is Jason Parker. I am a marketing executive and seven years of experience in blogging. Blogging is my love, my hobby, and my life.