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Burger King Nailed Its New Logo, and It's an Important Lesson for All Brands

Burger King’s new logo and look have the design world buzzing for all the right reasons. Here’s what makes the brand’s refresh work so well.

International fast-food giant Burger King started 2021 right with its first brand refresh in 20 years, and early reviews indicate its new look could set the tone for the coming decade of bold, simple brandings for a digital-obsessed generation. 

First of all, Burger King isn’t known for its design prowess. Prior to the brand’s refresh on January 7, nobody expected much from Burger King in terms of visual presentation. 

Without a horse to back in the chicken sandwich wars and a history of getting owned on social media by snappier brands, Burger King entered the decade flat on its feet.

But the brand refresh has brought a welcome wave of warm feedback to the brand. 1851 previously wrote about how the brand’s new look comports with its diversity and inclusion and sustainability efforts, but now let’s find out exactly what makes its new logo so good

Burger King’s “Flat” Logo

Take a look at Burger King’s old logo, and then their new one. 

Gone are any highlights, shadowing or attempt sto make the image look 3D. 

Burger King’s new logo capitalizes on the new trend towards “flat” logos. Look at the top phone apps in the App Store or Google Play Store. Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, Uber and Google apps all have one thing in common: They’re flat.

Burger King’s rebrand “fully embraces a recent design trend called flat design, which prioritizes two-dimension illustrations and bright colors and limits the noise created by too many visual details and textures,” Marker, a pop business publication wrote of the logo. 

“Buns don’t shine,” Burger King’s global chief marketing officer Fernando Machado told Business Insider of the rebrand. 

Not Just Colors, But Values

It's more than just a logo. The retro font and bold colors extend across all sinage and packaging. 

Burger King’s new look harkens back to the brand’s 1990s look, but in a refreshed way that speaks to the company’s values. 

Today’s consumer cares about ethics, sustainability and corporate citizenship more than ever. Burger King has been at the forefront of bringing “plant-based” meat alternatives into fast food and pioneering new ways to make beef burgers pollute the environment less. 

The new look subtly winks at these initiatives without beating the customer over the head with it. The brown bag and plain background speak to an uncluttered design with a smaller printing footprint. The simple brown of the new paper bags shows a more unprocessed look, which the brand hopes will translate.

“There’s no blue in food,” said Machado, explaining why the brand’s previous blue stripe has disappeared from the packaging. 

"Our choice to remove the color blue was somewhat symbolic of Burger King's recent removal of colors, flavors, and preservatives from artificial sources," Lisa Smith, executive creative director at Jones Knowles Ritchie, the firm that designed the brand’s new look told De Zeen

The Lesson For Brands

Burger King’s new look mixes retro nostalgia with a forward-looking, tech-savvy design by sticking to a bold, legible look that’s still colorful and fun. 

With major brands competing for eyeballs on smartphone screens, look for brands to heavily simplify logos to fit into app icons. 

But beware, smart brands have already begun moving in this direction. If a brand adopts an updated look too late, it may look like a copy cat rather than an innovator.