McDonald’s Logo Meaning, Symbolism, Design, and History | HipFonts (2024)

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It’s popular, it’s lip-smacking, and it makes everyone say, ‘I’m lovin’ it’. Yes, we’re talking about the cult-famous fast-food chain, McDonald’s! There’s so much to the history of this fast-food restaurant that there’s an entire movie dedicated to it.

But we’re here to talk about its archetypal logo which has made its acquaintance with populations in almost every area of the world. With over 35,000 restaurants in over 120 countries, you can’t expect their logo to seem foreign.

What do these two golden arches represent anyways? And was the logo always like this?

We’re here to dive into the transitions that the McDonald’s logo went through – trust us, you’d love to see the progress!

McDonald’s Started Out as a BBQ Restaurant

Patrick, the patriarch or simply McDonald’s, started his journey in 1937 with a plain hot dog stand close to the Monrovia airport in California. He called it the ‘Air Dome’. This hot dog stand began expanding its menu, and soon people started coming back for hamburgers, orange juice, and more!

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Photo by Thabang on Unsplash

Just three years later, Patrick’s children suggested the idea of moving this stall over to San Bernardino with a new rebranded name, the ‘McDonald’s Bar-B-Que’. The ‘Que’ in the name boasted their efficient car-hop service.

Despite having circa 25 BBQ items on their menu, what sold like hot cakes were their hamburgers. Therefore, the family decided to slim their menu to present few but highly flavorful items such as hamburgers, cheeseburgers, apple pies, etc.

In 1952, the name McDonald’s Bar-B-Que was cut down to just McDonald’s. Simultaneously, the car-hop service was replaced by a much more practical self-service system.

A year later, Neil Fox purchased the first-ever Franchise of McDonald’s, extending its breadth to a wider population. Now that the restaurant had started gaining popularity, the team hired an architect to design for them a logo.

Stanley Clark Meston was the guy behind the timeless ‘two golden arches’ design, which initially influenced the architecture of the restaurants before making its mark on the logo.

McDonald’s Fun Facts

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Photo by Janet Ganbold on Unsplash

The Golden Arches are as familiar as the Eiffel Tower or the Statue of Liberty. If you’re on a long road trip, seeing it up ahead means you’re getting a late midnight snack. For kids, the arches mean a Happy Meal toy to add to the collection.

Here are more fun facts you’d love to know about your favorite fast food chain:

Queen Elizabeth II owns the McDonald’s at Banbury Gateway Shopping Park in Oxfordshire. It is only 80 miles away from the Buckingham Palace.

The Krocs owned the food chain since April 1955. Today, about 93% of McDonald’s restaurants around the world are owned/operated by independent local business owners.

There are gluten-free options at McDonald’s. Several of them include: southwest grilled chicken salad, egg McMuffin, cheeseburger (any burger without the bun), M&M’s or Cadbury chocolate McFlurry, Fruit ‘N Yogurt parfait, artisan grilled chicken sandwich, hot fudge or caramel sundaes, mocha frappe, coffee and smoothies, and their french fries.

For those living in the United States, they’re never more than 115 miles away from a McDonald’s.

There’s such a thing as a McDonald’s exclusive Gold Card! This entitles VIPs such as actor Rob Lowe and business magnate Bill Gates to unlimited free food. Not all gold cards are for life though.

What do the Two Golden Arches in the McDonald’s Logo Represent?

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Photo by Emil huang on Unsplash

The two golden arches formed the basis of all the McDonald’s restaurant’s architectural design. Not only were they symbolic of something exciting, but they also represented the M in McDonald’s. It was a design that every customer would remember.

But it was only in 1961 that team McDonald’s decided to make this design the face of their brand’s logo. This was the same year that McDonald’s was sold to Ray Kroc, who sought help from the president of McDonald’s, Mr. Fred Turner, to sketch the logo for him. Turner, however, handed over the task to the head of construction, Jim Schindler, who managed to crave the design intricately.

Even though the logo went through many transitions over the years, in 2003, it was decided that the logo would remain as it is, for it had garnered commercial success and commendable recognition worldwide.

Care to have a look at what the McDonald’s logo looked like before? Let’s roll!

History of the McDonald’s Logo

The logo went through a total of 10 iterations; the ones succeeding the year 2003 are very much similar to what we see today. Let’s have a look!


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This logo was arranged in three tiers with parallel bars in the middle. These bars vanish mid-way to accommodate the world ‘famous’.This logo has three words, each written in a different font. The fonts used in this logo are italicized serif, sans-serif, and solid serif, respectively.


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This logo was put forth when McDonald’s decided to dump the BBQ menu and focus on their hamburgers.


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In 1953, the brand decided to skip nameplates and fancy additionals. They simply drafted an italicized font in a bright red color to showcase the brand’s name. However, even though the logo may look a bit unprofessional, it allowed the customers to focus on the brand’s identity.


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Here comes the iconic golden arch logo crafted by Stanley Meston. This logo is what set out to revolutionize the entire brand forever. It also features a diagonal line traversing the two golden arches. The logo features a red M outline with a yellow core, fashioned in a sans-serif typeface.


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The red outlines were eliminated, and so was the traversing diagonal line. The inner arches were narrowed down for a more sleeker, joyous look. This logo depicts instant fun!


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The yellow and white Mcdonald’s logo was placed onto a square red background for more definition. This was a good initiative as it would allow the brand to develop good signs that they could use for hanging and displaying.


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Mcdonald’s decided to eliminate the red background and put forth a more refined version of the M from Mcdonald’s. The brand had garnered enough popularity that even an initial would suffice to claim its recognition in the food industry!


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The black under-shadow was wiped off, so that consumers could focus on this sole happy-go-lucky color that we call yellow!

More than just a popular fast food chain, McDonald’s has proven itself an icon in pop culture and beyond.

McDonald’s Logo Meaning, Symbolism, Design, and History | HipFonts (12)
Posted by:Igor Ovsyannykov

Hello, I am a seasoned Graphic and Type Designer, boasting a distinguished career spanning over 16 years in the creative industry. During this time, I have meticulously crafted hundreds of innovative designs and iconic logos, leaving a lasting impact on various brands. My expertise lies not only in the aesthetic creation of visuals but also in understanding the profound significance of selecting the perfect font to embody a brand's essence. This unique blend of skills has enabled me to transform mere ideas into powerful visual identities, making me a trusted and respected figure in the design world.

McDonald’s Logo Meaning, Symbolism, Design, and History | HipFonts (2024)
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