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. TheM-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.
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 Mc Donald’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 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. As the business was undergoing a metamorphosis, the Mc Donald brothers were laying the foundations of a novel method of providing quick fast-food service to satiate craving and famished 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 Mc Donald’s.
This speedy nature of their service at Mc Donald’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 hired by the McDonald’s brothers in 1952 to overhaul and transform their business. He redesigned the restaurant’s premises and created the Golden Arches, the inspiration behind the massively successful and appealing logo of Mc Donald’s. However, the idea of the golden arches was originally Richard’s, as he felt that it was more attention-grabbing and easily noticeable from a distance even in heavy traffic.
The brothers were joined by Ray Kroc in 1955 as their manager. Having worked as a salesperson before, Kroc used his insightful business skills to expand the business make the brand known all over the country.
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 Mc Donald’s, Kroc decided to give 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 very first version of the legendary logo; an image with overlapping golden arches with 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 went on to represent Mc Donald’s in the market successfully 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 as well as its 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 having them overlap, he connected them, giving them the form of the alphabet’. He included the name of the brand in the logo and inserted it inside the letter ‘M’. This logo of Mc Donald’s was used by the company for graphic representation in the market for more than thirty years.
2003: The slogan ‘I’m lovin’ it’ logo:
In the year 2003, after having gone through several modifications and alterations, the brand came up with a heavily influential and powerful version of their 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 part of one of the most successful marketing campaigns that started in June 2003. Apart from that, the logo design was renovated as well. The new designers behind this version were Heye& Partner GmbH. 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 Mc Donald’s in the market ever since.
McDonald’s logo has undergone several modifications and changes itself, as the brand was evolving and reforming its identity and image over a huge period. 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 all across the globe. People of any nationality or language easily identify and recognize the M-shaped logo and what it symbolizes. This logo is considered as an integral part of this colossal fast-food restaurant’s brand value, which is estimated to be of 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 this logo a memorable one for generations of food lovers as well as graphic designers. Being one of the most identifiable images of modern times, this logo successfully manages to represent the brand Mc Donald’s as well as its legacy of quality food and reliable services over decades.
Bio: My name is Jason Parker. I am a marketing executive and 7 years of experience in blogging. Blogging is my love, my hobby, and my life.