A&W is a major brand of root beer sold in America and abroad. Root beer is a traditionally American invention, and A&W was one of the first sizeable operations to produce it on mass scale. This ‘beer’ is non-alcoholic and marketed as a healthy alternative to other soft drinks.
The operation began in 1919 when one Roy Allen came up with a recipe, although it wasn’t until 3 years later that the brand started in earnest, when Allen joined forces with another entrepreneur, Frank Wright, to create a truly successful line of root beer production. Their last names gave this brand a name, obviously.
The first logo featured black-and-white circles, one inside the other, that formed several layers of rings with text in them. The outer-most one had bold writings above and below that said ‘A&W’ and ‘Root Beer’ in tall capital letters. The inside layer had ‘Ice’ and ‘Cold’ written in the similar manner, although with smaller and thinner letters.
The very core was also pierced by a black arrow, which was likely a reference to the fact that root beer originated in the West of America.
The 1948 design was largely the same, except they colored the outer and the inner-most layers dark red this time.
Another repainting attempt followed in 1958, when they changed the red parts into pale orange to symbolize the beer color. Also, the very middle was given a little beet image of the same color.
In 1961, they returned to the red design, but slightly changed the appearance of the letters, as well as made the core part white. Furthermore, the arrow is much thicker this time and a slightly different shape. For instance, an outline directly around the very middle circle became the same thickness and color as the arrow – which is burgundy.
That’s the second evolution of the logo. Instead of an arrow-pierced circle they got an oval with a simpler structure. Its very middle was a blank white, filled with the ‘A&W’ lettering, where the ampersand was an elegant red symbol, and the rest stayed bold, brown and wide.
Directly surrounding them were two colored elements. They actually seem as though the white part in the core overlaps another, bicolor oval – one where divided into a red left part and a right brown one, which are then divided by a diagonal white line. Put a smaller white oval over them, and you receive this picture.
That’s followed by a thin white outline, which is then surrounded by a yet thinner black one.
It’s mostly the same design, except they supplanted the brown parts with black and reimagined the letters inside. Instead of the soft and brown capital letters we now have sprawling black serifs that occupy a lot more space and look rather aggressive. The rest stayed as before.
This time nothing structurally changed, although the color scheme did. It seems like they took the previous design and put a sepia filter on it. The red became pale brown, and the black became a dark brown. These colors are obviously meant to symbolize bear or roots, or likely both.
Around 2018, the logo slightly changed. It was rotated, the colors became more saturated, and the colored whirls inside the oval were instead given the shapes of a crescent moon. They didn’t touch anymore. They also added some volume to the letters, but the main change was in the frame department.
They added a wood-colored frame with two plaques on top and the bottom. They respectively said ‘since 1919’ and ‘root beer’ in brown. This font was softer and much like the pre-1995 style.
The other logo often used for the brand as a whole is an emblem of the firm’s Canadian branch. Instead of the indefinite oval layers, there’s only a white base shape and an orange arrow that circles the three letters inside. Everything here has an inflated, glinting look.