McDonald’s Logo

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What is McDonald’s Logo

McDonald’s is the oldest fast-food chain alive. Their story dates back to as far as 1940, even though the company itself started in 1955. They are the fast-food, and many competitors modeled their chains after these guys, as you probably know. Even though there have been numerous attempts to dethrone them, they are still going strong.

Meaning and History

McDonald’s Logo history

The contemporary logo that features the letter ‘M’ hasn’t surfaced until the 60s, when it became the main symbol of the corporation and barely changed over the years. They experimented with the layout on multiple occasions, but the emblem and the choice of color remained the same throughout the years.

1940 – 1948

McDonald’s Logo 1940

In the early pre-corporate stage of their life, McDonald’s used the usual black-and-white logos with minimum symbols. That was the first one. There were three lines of text – one beneath the other – that spelled ‘McDonald’s Famous Barbecue’, all written in different fonts.
The highest one was a more stylish type written in lowercase, while the two lower ones were more straightforward and official. There were also two parallel lines on each side of the ‘Famous’ part. The colors might vary, although because it mostly could be found on newspapers, the text was painted black most of the time.

1948 – 1953

 

McDonald’s Logo 1948

The second variation was put into a black rectangle with another one sticking from the bottom of it. The upper part spelled ‘McDonald’s Famous Hamburgers’ the same way the previous one did it, although now in a uniform flowing type, all in white.
They also put a motto in that sticking part – ‘buy ‘em by the bag’ – as well as some sort of mascot on top. But all accounts, it’s just a big pop-head with a chef hat on it. They apparently used the bigger images of it to pinpoint their diners back in the day.
The founders soon scrapped this design in favor of something less complex and more appealing. First, they came up with a text logo, but then the bosses moved on to create an image most people know the corporation by.

1953 – 1960

McDonald’s Logo 1953

What they did in this iteration is basically combine the designs of the word ‘McDonald’s’ from the previous two attempts. By comparison, this one was painted an aggressive red color, and also made into an even more flowing and as if hand-written text. It was the usual design for diners and family restaurants back in the day.
A year after this was introduced, the company was bought off by an entrepreneur Ray Kroc, and that’s probably one of the reasons why the logo started changing rapidly some time after.

1960 – 1968

McDonald’s Logo 1960

This logo was the first iteration where the iconic ‘M’-emblem appeared. It wasn’t precisely like the one the company has now, but it was close enough. The two yellow curves crossed in the middle, which made it look like a pair of tall hills. Then, the whole image was crossed by the line in the middle. Lastly, they added a red outline.
Since then, the combination of red and yellow stuck with the corporation. Even more so, considering they added the same red company name from before but gave it a more official and serious look once more.
This text design persisted until even today, although the last touches were added later on.

1968 – 2006

McDonald’s Logo 1968

It was the dominant design for the years to come. This layout was an inspiration for all the following iterations. The shape of the emblem was pretty much the same as now, except for the orange color instead of the yellow most people are used to seeing.
They also shifted the text part onto the middle of the emblem and painted it black. Nothing else changed about the writing, and they actually still use it when they need to use a name of a restaurant, although it’s more common to see it painted white nowadays.

1975 – today

McDonald’s Logo 1975

In 1962, they created a red-dominated variation of the 1968 logo. What happened was, they basically took the previous emblem, donned the text in white and placed the entire structure inside a rounded red rectangle.
That’s when the red-and-yellow style was reintroduced, more-or-less.

1993 – 2010

McDonald’s Logo 1993

Until 2010, they used this design in various variations alongside the main logotype. The emblem in this one had more volume. They changed the color back to yellow and added thick black outline with the shift to the right. Essentially, that’s all they added, although some later variations had a new motto attached in black writing.
It read (and still reads sometimes) ‘I’m lovin’ it’ in the same font as the company name. Officially, they used this combination until 2010, even though the standalone emblem was scrapped in 2006 in favor of the new logotype.

2003 – 2010

McDonald’s Logo 2003

Until 2010, they used this design in various variations alongside the main logotype. The emblem in this one had more volume. They changed the color back to yellow and added thick black outline with the shift to the right. Essentially, that’s all they added, although some later variations had a new motto attached in black writing.
It read (and still reads sometimes) ‘I’m lovin’ it’ in the same font as the company name. Officially, they used this combination until 2010, even though the standalone emblem was scrapped in 2006 in favor of the new logotype.

2006 – today

McDonald’s Logo 2006

This design basically replaced all the previous incarnations that were used simultaneously before. This one didn’t deviate far, either – it’s essentially a 1993 design but without the black shading behind the symbol. The volume fell out of fashion by this time.
What’s more, they continue to use the 1968-style writing, exactly as it was then. And they did for all this time.

2018 – today

McDonald’s Logo

McDonald’s likes to implement new logos for no reason. In 2018, they took the yellow ‘M’ symbol and placed it inside a red square. It’s much like the 1975 design, although the red is much deeper and brighter, and there is no text.

Emblem and Symbol

Symbol McDonald’s

There were several other, minor symbols that were used across the years next to the main emblem. Sometimes the yellow letter was fully put inside a red square. On occasions, they put a little cartoonish smile (basically a curve with two stud line attach across the curve on the ends.
But other than that, they never used anything else – and the main emblem itself doesn’t really have any additional meaning besides just being a cartoonish letter ‘M’.