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We all know what to expect when a beloved brand redesigns its logo: buzz, and lots of it. Earlier this summer, much of the buzz in the realm of restaurant logos had to do with the new IHOP logo.
The logo marks the restaurant’s first design change in 20 years, and it very clearly emphasizes IHOP’s key strength: putting smiles on the faces of hungry pancake-lovers. The new look is decidedly more modern while keeping IHOP’s recognizable red and blue color scheme.
But what does it mean for the brand? We asked our friends at Siegel+Gale how they envision the redesigned IHOP logo withstanding the test of time. Further down the page, they weigh in on other restaurant logo redesigns, too.
“The IHOP logo is more open without a box and retains the original typeface to maintain its brand equity. However, it is doubtful that the logo will stand the test of time. The use of the smile is cliché and not particularly successful. It resembles a slightly disturbing face, instead of conveying fun and friendliness.” —Ellie Winter, Senior Designer
“Removing the blue frame from the IHOP logo was a good call. The wordmark itself is a nice, succinct shape and decoupling it from its container makes it a more flexible mark. I can see it working well across a lot of brand touchpoints. Overall, a smart redesign. Except for one thing—that red smile reads as more sinister than cheerful.” —Bret Hansen, Creative Director
“Simplifying the IHOP logo is a smart move that will probably be around as long as people (like me) like eating cake for breakfast. The “smile” on the other hand; I could see disappearing over time. It’s a nice little design treatment, but it feels like a campaign element that could wear out it’s welcome.” —Mike Preston, Associate Creative Director
“In general, simpler logos tend to last longer because they are more flexible for a growing business and there are less details that could potentially fall out of trend. IHOP’s new logo continues in that direction but the smile still feels superfluous. Keep the smile as a campaign element and reserve the wordmark as the main logo and you have a strong mark that can adapt seamlessly for years. But we shouldn’t confuse “timelessness” as being a determinant factor of quality. Not all good logos last forever nor are all logos that last forever good.” —Mike Tyson, Senior Designer
“It’s interesting how now I see an upside down smile in the old logo… 🙁 It’s hard to tell what will withstand the test of time. The smile as a punch graphic motif is subtle and it communicates. Typically being timeless can also mean getting rid of the unnecessary elements, such as ornaments, boxes, curvy type, etc. so this is a good start.” —Ricardo Beltran, Associate Creative Director
“I like the new design; it is simple and appealing whilst being a natural evolution of the old logo. I see lots of opportunities for this to evolve in the right hands; the smile can be taken out and used on [its own] to be truly iconic.” —Mads Jakob Poulsen, Creative Director
Siegel+Gale Weighs in on Other Restaurant Logos
We thought it’d be fun to ask what Siegel+Gale creatives’ thoughts are on some other restaurant logos.
“The new logo gives Olive Garden a facelift, illustrating an olive branch instead of grapes and using flat vector art. While it is clean and simplified, it lost the human quality to the script that gave the restaurant the feeling of actual Italian kitchen.” —Ellie Winter, Senior Designer
“Instead of trying to evoke some kind of Tuscan fantasy, the new Olive Garden logo seems instead to suggest a clean, friendly place to eat. The quirky script combined with a sans-serif descriptor position the family restaurant as a contemporary option among casual dining experiences. The new logo is an improvement, but my hunch is that it could be further simplified.” —Bret Hansen, Creative Director
“It’s simplified and more contemporary (good) but feels more generic (bad). The typography of the new logo doesn’t feel as graceful as the old. The old type wasn’t amazing, but it at least felt like a natural gesture, the new type feels a little clunky by comparison.” —Mike Preston, Associate Creative Director
“This still feels like an amalgamation of bland ideas and styles which probably pairs well with their food.” —Mike Tyson, Senior Designer
“The clean graphics might fool you but there is no much redesign here, same font style with an olive branch on the top right corner. The restaurant could have achieved the same result by making their original logo a flat monochromatic graphic.” —Ricardo Beltran, Associate Creative Director
“I have a hard time seeing the rationale for this update, and for how far it has departed from the old. The old logo did look, well old, and could definitely need a re-fresh, but it had some great (recognizable) typography in there that could have been utilized to look great in a new, simpler and more modern version.” —Mads Jakob Poulsen, Creative Director
“The new shape makes the logo look like a warning sign and overpowers the name inside of it. A more custom usage of the red stripes could have evolved the logo to be iconic.” —Ellie Winter, Senior Designer
“The new TGI Fridays logo retains the brand’s iconic red stripes, which hold considerable equity, but now the red is deeper and the stripes define the logo’s shape rather then merely fill the shape. The new logo is cleaner and more upscale, but it still has plenty of ‘flare.'” —Bret Hansen, Creative Director
“I’m all for this update. The old logo didn’t know what it was—silly type ( small ‘i… ugh) inside of an old-timey shape—it was very odd. The new one is simple, strong and probably looks great over a photo of a glistening Jack Daniels double bacon cheeseburger.“ —Mike Preston, Associate Creative Director
“I’m not sure simplifying the baroque emblem in the original was the proper move. The former felt idiosyncratic and playful and the new shape says little about the company. ” —Mike Tyson, Senior Designer
“Doesn’t seem the redesign required too much thought here.” —Ricardo Beltran, Associate Creative Director
“The new logo is cleaner looking; I am wondering if it is too clean though. The stripes have great equity but rendered this simple they almost have a warning-like look and feel and no charm. Interested in seeing this in context.” —Mads Jakob Poulsen, Creative Director
“Using only red helps to simplify the logo but the ‘sauce’ is not appetizing. It looks like someone ran their finger through it to draw the logo.” —Ellie Winter, Senior Designer
“I wish I could say the new logo is an improvement. I wish I could say the previous logo offered a good starting point. I wish Pizza Hut would just dust off its 1967 logo.” —Bret Hansen, Creative Director
“I like that it is one color and flat, but the ‘hut’ inside of the blob just feels like a concept in a concept. Also, I don’t like it when restaurants that serve food that makes you round and blobby makes their logo round and blobby. Too real.” —Mike Preston, Associate Creative Director
“Wax Seal Hut.” —Mike Tyson, Senior Designer
“Pizza Hut will benefit from not using fake lighting and underlining a word. Wonder what will happen if they also get rid of the hut.” —Ricardo Beltran, Associate Creative Director
“Abandoning the (tomato, basil, cheese) color combo for pure red makes the logo feel stronger and more confident, and the circular element makes it very easy to use. Not the most needed redesign but I do think it works.” —Mads Jakob Poulsen, Creative Director
”This logo is a huge improvement. By using both red and blue in the symbol and separating the name, the iconic domino symbol can now live on its own.” —Ellie Winter, Senior Designer
“Simple. Friendly. Iconic. Overall, much better.” —Bret Hansen, Creative Director
“Modern, clean, and simple with a logical name change and nice typography. This one is my favorite.” —Mike Preston, Associate Creative Director
“Glad to see the client was able to go with what’s probably the most effective redesign you can do for Domino’s Pizza. Even the name changed, which is a good thing. Can’t really imagine any new redesign needed ever.” —Ricardo Beltran, Associate Creative Director
“Shortening the name to what people are actually calling Domino’s is a natural move, which also allows them to do more than just pizza, just like what Starbucks did. And the simplified icon and type work is great. Love it.” —Mads Jakob Poulsen, Creative Director
What do YOU think of the new IHOP logo and the other restaurant logos listed here?
- Want more of S+G’s design commentary? Check out what the creatives think of the 2016 presidential campaign logos.
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