Tracing the History of the Burger King Logo Design
For over 60 years, Burger King has been a popular fast-food chain serving some of America's iconic burgers. But as well as its delicious menu, Burger King is known for its iconic logo design, which has evolved over the years. From its humble beginnings in the 1950s to its revival, the Burger King logo has symbolised American culture and fast food history. In this blog post, we explore the fascinating history of the Burger King logo, trace its evolution and discover the inspiration behind its iconic design. Join us on a journey through time and find the history of the Whopper and the evolution of the Burger King logo design.
The Original Burger King Logo: 1953 – 1954
Insta Burger King, the popular fast food chain now known simply as Burger King, has a long and colourful history spanning several decades. The brand has changed several times, from its name to its logo. In 1953, the company introduced its first logo, a bold wordmark written in capital letters with half a sun rising from it. This bright and friendly emblem would only be with the brand for a year, but it laid the foundation for the iconic logo design that would follow.
Burger King's first logo was meant to capture the brand's essence. The wordmark was bold and eye-catching, with a modern font conveying speed and efficiency. The rising sun symbolised a new day and the promise of something new and exciting on the horizon.
Burger King Logotype: 1954 – 1957
In 1954, the fast food chain formerly known as Insta Burger King underwent a significant change. The company was taken over by David Edgerton and James McLamore, who saw great potential in the brand. With the change of ownership came a new name – Burger King – and a new logo design.
The new Burger King logo differed from the previous design, which featured a bold, uppercase wordmark with a rising sun. Instead, the new logo was a simple, minimalist script in a custom sans serif font with uneven edges on the letters. This typeface distinctly differed from the previous design, lacking additional detail or imagery and relying solely on typography to convey the brand's message.
Despite its simplicity, the new Burger King logo was well-received by consumers. The bold typography and uneven edges of the letters gave the logo personality and character, making it stand out from other fast food logos. This logo design remained the brand's symbol for three years. It served as a visual representation of the company's commitment to delivering delicious, high-quality burgers and other fast food products.
Home of the Whopper: 1957 – 1969
In 1957, Burger King's logo was redesigned again and differed significantly from its previous design. The most noticeable change was the introduction of a new colour palette, with the red lettering now placed on a light yellow background. This new colour scheme was bright and memorable, making the logo instantly recognisable to customers.
Along with the new colour palette, they also changed the font. They replaced the custom sans serif font of the previous logo with a bolder, cleaner font similar to the TILT font. This modern sans-serif font had playful letters that added a touch of whimsy and fun to the logo while conveying a sense of professionalism and reliability.
The new Burger King logo also featured a delicate tagline that reads “Home of the Whopper”, with all letters except “Whopper” in black. This tagline was a critical addition to the logo as it emphasised the brand's commitment to delivering high-quality burgers that customers would love.
Overall, the new Burger King logo improved over the previous design as it was more modern, playful and memorable. It encapsulated the essence of the brand and conveyed a sense of fun and excitement while highlighting the quality of the food. This logo design would remain the brand's symbol for several years and be refined and updated to keep up with changing consumer tastes.
Burger King Bun Logo: 1969 – 1994
In 1969, Burger King unveiled the iconic “bun” logo prototype that would become the brand's critical visual identity for decades. A marked departure from previous designs, the new logo featured bold red lettering placed in two tiers between two halves of a yellow bun. They carried over this colour palette from the previous logo, but the style, composition and shape were utterly different.
The lettering of the new logo was done in a bold, rounded sans-serif font with slim, soft lines, giving it a modern and sophisticated look. The “King” part of the logo was enlarged, creating a better balance between the two layers of the bun. The result was a dynamic and eye-catching design that quickly became synonymous with the Burger King brand.
The “Bun” logo was an instant success, partly thanks to its distinctive and memorable design. The bold red lettering contrasted with the ochre bun set the logo apart from other fast food logos, while the rounded sans serif font gave it a sense of accessibility and friendliness. The logo was also very versatile, allowing it to be used for various marketing materials and advertising campaigns.
Over the years, the “Bun” logo continued to evolve and change, with minor refinements and updates to keep up with changing consumer tastes. However, the core elements of the logo remained the same: the red lettering and the two halves of the bun became instantly recognisable symbols of the Burger King brand. Today, the “bun” logo remains a famous and iconic design, a testament to the enduring power of good branding and design.
Refined: 1994 – 1999
In 1994, Burger King made a significant update to its logo, refining the design to reflect better the company's values and appeal to its target audience. The most notable change was from ochre to a bright orange for the bun, giving the logo a more energetic and vibrant character. This change aligned with the brand's focus on a young, free-spirited audience.
The logo's font was also updated to a more traditional and solid typeface, moving away from the rounded sans serif of the previous design. The new typeface was still a bold, rounded sans serif, similar to VAG Rounded ExtraBold, but with slight changes to the letter “G” and the ends of the two “R “s to make the lettering look more confident and bold. Using capital letters also contributed to the bold and confident look of the logo.
The red and orange colour palette chosen for the updated logo was a conscious decision and symbolised passion and energy, as well as the brand's focus on appealing to a younger target group. Overall, the revised logo design reflects Burger King's commitment to staying current and relevant in a competitive market while remaining true to the company's core values.
Let's Change it up: 1999 – 2021
Burger King's logo has changed several times since its founding. In 1999, the renowned branding agency Sterling Brands was commissioned to redesign the logo. In the new logo, the wordmark was placed diagonally between the bun halves, with the buns now coloured yellow and accented with white strokes.
The most noticeable change was the new modern sans serif typeface with sharp angles and slim lines, giving the logo a modern look. In addition, they enlarged the red lettering to make it more visible and eye-catching. The colour palette remained consistent with the previous logo version, with the red symbolising passion and the yellow exuding joy and energy.
Current Burger King Logo: 2021 – Today
Burger King underwent another logo redesign by renowned branding agency Jones Knowles Ritchie in 2021. The new design differs from previous versions and represents the latest chapter in the company's history.
The new Burger King logo features a minimalist but bold design, with the red wordmark set between two orange buns. The colour palette has been simplified, with blue wholly removed from the brand's palette. The shade of orange used in the logo is brighter and more vibrant, while the red lettering stands out more clearly, making the logo instantly recognisable.
The new logo is accompanied by a custom font called “Flame”, inspired by the shapes of flames and has a more modern, streamlined look than the fonts previously used by the company. The font is clean and legible, making it easy to read from a distance and on small screens.
The logo's light cream background is a warm and inviting frame that makes the brand appear more personable and friendly. The overall effect of the new logo is more contemporary and streamlined, reflecting the company's commitment to innovation and progress.
The Burger King logo design has undergone various transformations over the years. From its simple beginnings in 1953 to the iconic emblem we know today, the logo has evolved to reflect the company's changing image and message. Each redesign was carefully thought through and aimed to appeal to the brand's target audience.
As we have seen, the evolution of the Burger King logo is a testament to the power of visual identity and how it can influence the success of a brand. With each change, the company has managed to stay relevant and capture the essence of its brand values.
It is fascinating to see how the logo design has evolved into a recognisable symbol of the fast food giant. The latest redesign in 2021 is another milestone in the company's history and will undoubtedly give the brand a fresh and modern perspective.
Overall, the Burger King logo is an excellent example of how a company can evolve and stay relevant without losing its identity and heritage. The design and evolution of the logo will continue to play an essential role in the company's success. They will undoubtedly continue to inspire designers and marketers for years to come.