McDonald’s, the world’s largest restaurant chain, has 34,480 restaurants in 119 countries throughout the world. The McDonald’s logo is one of the most recognizable and iconic logos used in branding today. Since McDonald’s Corporation was founded in 1955, the company’s logo has been changed many times. In 1960, the “golden arches” (the yellow “M”) was introduced as their new symbol. This logo references the architecture of McDonald’s during this era designed by Stanley Meston, “which was a roof lined higher in front than in back, flanked by a pair of illuminated golden arches. The ‘M’ formed by the arches would define the company’s logo throughout the ensuing decades” (“McDonald’s”).
The logo contains an upper case yellow “M” in a sans serif font that stands for McDonald’s. This “M” is usually in a red background with the word “McDonald’s” or the phrase “i’m lovin’ it” written in white beneath it. In some cases, the “M” is placed by itself with no other words. The yellow color resembles the famous McDonald’s fries. The strong contrast created between the red and the yellow represent the company’s bold nature while also making the logo more visible from a distance. The prevalence of this logo in everyday life makes it recognizable as the McDonald’s logo even without using any words. I think what makes this logo most effective is its ability to convey information with use of very minimal graphics. The simplicity logo makes it very effective and versatile for many different things such as signs, billboards, menus, paper bags, websites, apps, etc.
This logo represents more than just fast food. It represents the American culture that is spreading throughout the world. Today, it has become a cultural icon synonymous with capitalism and the globalization of America. McDonald’s represents many of the principles the rest of the world associates with America: consistency, homogenization and inexpensive food served fast. As an American, if you go to a different country, even if you do not speak the language, you are still able to recognize the McDonald’s logo and have a sense of familiarity. The language barrier is broken by using logos rather than words as a form of communication. This is a really important aspect in advertising and branding on a global level.
“McDonald’s.” Www.logos.wikia.com, Logopedia.
This image is the logo for the Japan-based automobile manufacturer, Toyota Motor Corporation. This version is featured in screen-based advertising, as well as on Toyota vehicles in the form of a three-dimensional emblem. Introduced in 1989, this mark was designed to commemorate the fiftieth year of the company and served to rebrand the company as it gained prominence in foreign countries. The Toyota logo is widely recognized today as the face of most popular automobile manufacturer in the world.
The logo consists of three intersecting ovals of various sizes, all vertically centered with one another. The largest of the ovals is widest in its horizontal dimension and contains the remaining two ovals within its boundaries. One of these inside ovals is about three-quarters as wide as the outside oval and nearly half as tall. Additionally, this inside oval shares its upper edge with the larger outside oval. The second inside oval is narrow, with a width of about a quarter of that of the outside oval. Vertically, it extends from the top edge to the bottom edge of the outside oval, intersecting the other inside oval.
All three of the ovals are formed by thick contours that slightly vary in width, reminiscent of a calligraphic stroke. Furthermore, the sharp contrast between highlights and shadows creates an appearance of bas-relief. The coloration of the strokes consists of multi-directional gradients of white to dark gray, suggesting a reflective surface, and the direction of the gradients alludes to a light source from the upper left corner.
The logo for Toyota reflects the company’s primary product: automobiles. The intersecting ovals express fluidity and motion, the essence of a moving vehicle. Furthermore, the conjoined strokes suggest a strong unity of parts, while the logo’s axial symmetry provides harmony and balance to the design, all qualities of a well-crafted, high-functioning machine. The calligraphic nature of the strokes subtly references the company’s Japanese heritage, while also optically balancing the logo by evenly distributing the weight of the design through the adjustment of the strokes’ widths. The metallic coloration of the logo calls to mind the strength and durability of metal, which is often associated with industrial advancement and superior quality. Additionally, the metallic finish conveys the feeling of luxury and timelessness that is regularly ascribed to the material. Lastly, amongst all of these design elements, exists an abstract “T” formed by the intersection of the two inside ovals, a clever allusion to the company’s name. Through its simple sophistication and abstract expressiveness the Toyota logo design succeeds as a highly recognizable, stand-alone mark for an equally recognizable brand of automobiles.
The image above is the new logo of Uniqlo store. Uniqlo is a Japanese fashion brand that has evolved from a roadside store to a global brand leader in style and quality. The name is a combination of the short form for “unique clothing” and a misspelling of an employee—the letter “C” was written as “Q” instead. In addition, the company created a dual language version of the logo, Japanese and English language. The logo is used on all their products and advertisements. Uniqlo product designs are bold and basic clothing—no overwhelming prints, very versatile, and do not go out of style.
The design of the logo is flat and simple yet bold. It consists of two distinct color palettes, red and white. The richness in saturation and contrast of these palettes attract the viewer’s attention. The red square is the dominant color, which serves as the container of the texts. It has the shade of an electric red—the brightest red that a computer monitor can display. The white type is set on the red background resulting an implied knocked out effect. This kind of white is the purest and brightest out of all the colors and commonly seen in nature, the color of milk and snow. The name of the brand is spelled out in either Roman letters (right logo) or Japanese script (left logo). The American logo consists of six sans serif Roman letters—“UNI” at the top and “QLO” at the bottom. The font is a customized font, which is adapted from the typeface family FF DIN in bold weight. All characters are capitalized, monospaced and centered. The Japanese version consists of four Katakana characters that has straight edges and thick strokes. Both versions are legible and easy to remember. These characteristics depict some hints of minimalism.
Uniqlo’s new logo design is powerful. It successfully reflects not only the essence of the brand but also the Japanese design and craftsmanship. Japanese symbolism is achieved with the color palette and shape. The colors red and white matches the Japanese flag. The square form resembles the name seals that are traditionally used in Japan as a mark of ownership and authenticity. The seals bear either a motto, poem, or name of a person or an organization. It also expresses strong trade relationship between United States and Japan by integrating both Japanese characters and Roman letters. The new logo is a simple representation of the contemporary Japanese style.
Overall, there is no doubt that Uniqlo’s logo as a whole is satisfying as it’s products. Everything is carefully considered, from the visual aesthetics to the symbolisms. It is simple, memorable, versatile, appropriate, and timeless. Just like what a veteran logo designer — Paul Rand — would say, “Design is the silent ambassador of your brand” and “Good design doesn’t date. Bad design does.”