The McDonald’s Golden Arches logo is one of the most recognizable logos in the world for decades. As a student, I would see it multiple times every day, even if it’s just on the way to school. Because of the global reach on the company, The McDonald’s logo is not only a sign for a fast food restaurant, but also symbolizes capitalism, globalisation and American culture nowadays.
The first McDonald’s was opened by brothers Richard and Maurice in 1940 in San Bernardino, California. They started the fast food culture alongside its burgers and fries weren’t even on the menu. The Tubby chef Speedee was fist designed by Richard and Maurice McDonald in 1948 based on their fast food process they named the ‘Speedee Service System’. The winking character helped to communicate the idea of fast food and the drive-in services.
Then the second logo came along with the change of the building, which is the Golden Arches logo. The McDonald brothers asked architect Stanley Meston to redesign a building that carried on the traditions of drive-ins and updated it in an appropriate and memorable aesthetic. (Hess, 1986) George Dexter designed two giant yellow arches on both side of the building to be an eye-catching appearance and greater efficiency in 1952. This is how the icon was born when Jim Schindler sketched out these yellow arches and viewed as the letter ‘M’ in some angles. He added a slanting line running through the arches which symbolizes the roof of the store. The bright yellow is the same color with the actual arches. This was an interconnection between the logo and the architecture itself. However, this logo was added after Ray Kroc acquired the company in 1961. This was the time when the Golden Arches became instantly recognizable and helped the company became one of the most popular brands.
Last but not least, the official McDonald’s Corporation logo, the Golden Arches tagline I’m lovin’it. This was created by Heye & Partner GmbH in 2003, which was a huge success and let the company logo become one of the most iconic marks in the logo. history. They emphasized on the ‘M’ and kept it the way as how the Golden Arches looked. They eliminated those unnecessary elements and kept the whole look simple and clean but maintained its original concepts at the same time.
As one of the most recognizable logos, McDonald’s did a great job. It is not only just about the fast food restaurants, but also the ways how designers developed and improve through time based on the changes in our lives and the expansion of cultures.
The Origins of McDonald’s Golden Arches, Alan Hess, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 1986, University of California Press