What is McDonald's Logo History? | History, Meaning, and Evolution of Golden Arches

      Have you ever noticed the McDonald's logo and how it has remained virtually the same over the years? The logo is one of the most recognizable symbols in the world. McDonald's was created by two brothers and is now one of the world's biggest fast-food franchises. The recognizability of McDonald's bold logo design is a big component of its success.

      McDonald's' logo is also known as the Golden Arches. The McDonald's logo history is fascinating and can inspire any graphic designer or anyone providing logo design services in USA. The journey of the McDonald's logo began with the company's rapid expansion. But, before we get into the aesthetic components of the logo. We want to take you back in time to see how McDonald's became the most well-known fast-food brand. Furthermore how it influenced people's lifestyles all over the world.

      The history behind the iconic Golden Arches is something that fascinates people from all walks of life. We are sure that you'll find the history of the Golden Arches fascinating.

McDonald's Logo History Over the Years

     The McDonald's Logo history began in 1937 when Patrick McDonald built a drive-in restaurant called "The Airdome" on Route 66 in Monrovia. Richard McDonald and Maurice McDonald, Patrick McDonald's two sons, moved the restaurant to San Bernardino in 1940 and titled it "McDonald's."

      Once they moved to the new location, they prioritized the redesign of the eatery's architecture. The Mcdonald brothers hired architect Stanley Clark Meston to create the new architecture. This time also saw the inception of the renowned McDonald's logo in the form of the now-famous Golden Arches. During the next few decades, the company's internationalization saw it open restaurants in the United States and other countries across the globe.

      Global pop culture is intertwined with McDonald's logo history. And this impact on the global pop culture has only grown over the years. Where now hearing "I'm Lovin' It" conjures images of Big Macs and Happy meals.  Big Mac, Happy Meal have all become household names.

     McDonald's branding's remarkable success story was the inspiration behind many other fast food ventures. Because of their success, several fast-food companies such as Taco Bell, Burger King, and Subway have taken inspiration from McDonald's marketing techniques have been over the years. Some have even grown to become rivals.

Who Created the McDonald Logo? | Evolution of McDonald's Golden Arches

     McDonald's success story would be incomplete without including the story of its logo design. McDonald's Golden Arches spark instant recognition and association with McDonald's in whoever sees them. Moreover, McDonald's logo is easily identifiable across the globe by people of different demographics and geographical locations. All know the Golden Arches, from North America and the Middle East to Sub-Saharan Africa and the Subcontinent.

      There is little doubt that the McDonald's logo played an important part in establishing the company's brand image. McDonald's has redesigned its logo numerous times before settling on the present version in 2018. The iconic arches, on the other hand, have been a feature of the design since 1968. It is now an essential component of McDonald's brand identification and remains unchanged despite the company's regular rebranding.

McDonald's Symbol

     The arches were the invention of Richard McDonald, one of the McDonald brothers. He felt they could better attract the attention of passing motorists. After purchasing the company from the McDonald brothers, Ray Kroc updated the logo, replacing it with a new design that mirrored the restaurant's now-iconic arches.

      McDonald's Golden Arches were the focal point of the newly erected building in 1952. When Ray Kroc took over the company in 1961, he combined the two arches to create the new McDonald's emblem, which resembled the letter "M." Since then, this unique design has served as the symbol for McDonald's.

     Ray Kroc changed the company's corporate identity in 1968, as the company's business grew. So the first step he took for the company was to re-brand it. The McDonald's logo was revised many times between 1968 and 2018 while retaining the iconic golden arches. Besides the iconic arches, the company has gone through several brand identities and slogans. Mcdonald's hit the jackpot with the I'm Lovin' it slogan in 2003. The energy and its incredible synergy with the iconic McDonald's Golden Arches are still going strong today.

Colors and Fonts

     McDonald's logo evolution shows that gold and red have been the primary colors throughout most of the brand's history. The golden color reflects the company's earliest restaurant's famous arches. At the same time, the red color signifies the company's association with the food industry. The colors are bold, and they tend to stand out easily. It has given McDonald's an excellent brand identity that remains easily recognizable everywhere in the world. The font used in the McDonald's logo is the McLawsuit typeface which has since been updated to the Lovin' Sans typeface for all typography.

     The choice of colors for the McDonald's symbol was not random but based upon perceptions and impressions that colors create. The McDonald's logo history showcases how they inspired other food companies to use the same strategy when choosing colors for their logos. There is a reason why a number of food ventures from that era incorporate reds, yellows, and other vibrant hues.



       Red is a vibrant hue that is linked with being active. It creates a sense of urgency, elevates the heart rate, and can create feelings of hunger. And yellow represents daylight, new beginnings and is often linked with happiness. And because of the brightness and vibrancy of both the colors, a McDonald's emblem is very easy to spot, no matter how crowded it is.

       However, McDonald's has shifted its color ratio towards yellow since the "I'm Lovin' It" campaign. However, certain McDonald's branches around the world utilize colors apart from yellow and red.  It is due to either legal restrictions or experimentation with alternate colors to see how they affect consumer perception. For example, looking at McDonald's logo history, we find one prominent example where the colors were changed. The McDonald's in the city of Sedona, Arizona, sports McDonald's Golden Arches in turquoise.           

McDonald's Logo and Its Meaning

      A look at McDonald's logo history shows how it grew into such a recognizable chain and America around the world. At the moment, there are close to 37,000 McDonald's in operation in over 120 countries. Most McDonald's are franchises, and the slogans can sometimes change or the menu items, but McDonald's symbol remains the same.

     Over the years, many people have tried to discern the meaning behind this deceptively simple logo. Ray Kroc was the brains behind the now-iconic McDonald's Golden Arches we see today. He is also the man who took the restaurant from its humble roots to the global franchise today. As we've talked about earlier, the original restaurant had two golden arches to make it easier to spot from the highway. Ray put the arches together to create the now-iconic M.

     Throughout McDonald's logo history, industrial psychologists and advertisers have studied the logo and developed their theories on why it works so well. One of the more unusual and popular ones is that McDonald's Golden Arches illicit feelings of maternal love due to their shape. Thus, a very Freudian take on the iconic logo but one never confirmed by McDonald's. However, this particular interpretation does keep cropping up every few years.

       The search for hidden meaning in logos has been ongoing since the 1920s. And most logos do have hidden meanings, and sometimes it's the name. Sometimes it's the brand identity that they want to express.

Concluding Remarks

        McDonald's logo history shows us the genius that was Ray Kroc. Over the years, global chains have become common with easily recognizable symbols or logos. But McDonald's remains the blueprint by which all emerging food chains measure themselves. From logo design to marketing tactics, the impact of McDonald's and its Golden Arches on the global market is undeniable.

       And although it does not diminish the amount of money that goes into advertising, having the right logo which elicits the right kind of recall can go a long way. The story of McDonald's Golden Arches is a tale of humble beginnings, a bit of double-crossing, and the genius of one man who had a vision.

       So, whether you are a graphic designer or an agency providing logo design services in the US, the lessons that McDonald's logo history teaches are something to keep in mind. Lessons about font choices and the meaning of colors, and how they can impact perceptions. We hope that you'll notice how other brands incorporate colors into their logos and how the ratios or colors may have changed over the years.