The Burger King Logo & Brand: Consistent Branding Since 1953

June 7, 2023

By: Gareth Mankoo

The Burger King Logo & Brand: Consistent Branding Since 1953

One of the world’s most loved fast-food chains has a remarkable story. The Burger King logo has become well-known, well-loved, and recognizable. Established in 1953, the burger chain has evolved its flavors as it spread out into the world, offering unique experiences to consumers.

If you look closely at the brand's name, Burger King is a classic, easy name to give any burger joint. It is commendable how the brand stuck to its name and built on the equity it gathered over the years without changing much. The Burger King logo saw significant changes in its formative years but has remained consistent throughout the last few decades.

This is the story of the famous logo that triggers a hunger pang as soon as you set your eyes on it.

The evolution of the Burger King logo through the years

The Burger King logo has been through a remarkable journey, inspired by changing brand custodians, different eras, and evolving consumer patterns. Today, the logo design reflects its rich heritage and patronage worldwide.

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1953 to 1954: Monochromatic sun

1953-1954
1953-1954

The brand was first known as Insta-Burger King as a reference to the Insta-Broiler, a cooking equipment that could simultaneously cook both sides of a burger. The logo was created in greyscale and presented the visual direction of the sun that could be interpreted as a half-bun. The illustration of the sun had pointy, spike-like rays sticking out of it.

The wordmark had Burger King written in all caps in a playful, less-serious font. The lack of colors took a toll on some of the attractive youthfulness the logo would otherwise enjoy. Like most first logos of iconic brands, this Burger King logo only survived for a year before it was changed.

1954 to 1957: Hello, wordmark logo

1954-1957
1954-1957

The brand changed hands to its second owners. The name of the brand was also revised to Burger King in 1954. The logo lost the sun emblem and maintained a simple wordmark to represent the brand. The inscription on the logo read BURGER-KING all in caps.

The letters were unsettlingly uneven and had irregular, jagged edges on purpose. The logo font caught on for longer than one would give it credit for. For three years, the new Burger King logo was the sole identifier of the brand in a marketplace that hadn’t imagined burgers as a common fast-food idea.

1957 to 1969: The king makes an appearance

1957-1969
1957-1969

The brand eventually decided to add some brand colors into the mix. It was the age of the mascots, and Burger King decided to humanize the brand by creating a mascot who was a king.

He sat above the wordmark as a simple hand-drawn representation of his regal self. With a burger as his throne and a glass of cola as his drink, the king wore a red, yellow, and blue outfit to match the brand's colors.

Below the king was inscribed the brand's full name, “BURGER KING HOME OF THE WHOPPER,” broken across two lines. The logo was childish but brought to life the lovable king who could pique the attention of younger audiences.

1969 to 1994: Sandwiched for greatness

1969-1994
1969-1994

After twelve years with the highly cluttered logo, the brand decided to drop the king from its main brand assets. This was to be the first appearance of what is today Burger King’s preferred and most recently developed logo look. It featured two buns, above and below, with Burger King written in red, thick fonts between them.

The buns were orange/brown, while the brand’s name was in red and all caps. The letters in the name continued to appear playful and seemed to attract a younger target audience. The logo was around for a quarter of a century before it received its next edit.

1994 to 1999: A new logo font

1994-1999
1994-1999

The untrained eye would take a while to identify what changed in the logo in 1994. The brand replaced the font between the loose buns but retained the proportions of a smaller “BURGER” and a bigger “KING” in the wordmark. The typeface was made less playful and more professional. The buns were given a lighter orange shade.

The font was flattened, giving the overall logo a more confident brand personality. The 1994 logo is famous and can be found in some franchises today since it was resurrected in 2021 with a minor edit.

1999 to today: The one we know and love

1999-current
1999-current

Sterling Brands agency was mandated to redesign the legendary Burger King logo in 1999. They resurrected the third color from the King logo and introduced it interestingly. The blue formed a crescent around a more dynamic version of the previous logo, which was now tilted.

The buns appeared less flat, with reflections to highlight their rounded corners. The font was diagonal as well to fit between the turned buns. The “K” interacts interestingly with the blue crescent.

While the logo is most different from everything the brand produced as a logo before, it fits the contemporary code of the digital age. It looks at home in modern, digital applications.

2021 to today: A blast from the past

2021-current
2021-current

In 2021, Burger King changed its logo under the guidance of Jones Knowles Ritchie to a flatter, modern version of the 1994 logo. The wordmark was again written in red and placed between the orange buns. The entire unit is placed in a container, making it a closed logo to protect the negative areas from mixing up with logo backgrounds.

The brand has lost the blue color completely.

The LOGO.com versions of the Burger King logo design

The Burger King logo is eye-catching and original, and it successfully communicates the brand's message of joy to its primary demographic of young people. But could the famous design be reimagined once again?

Design similar versions of the Burger King logo below and take them home for free!

Burger King logo variation
Click the image to customize this logo
Burger King logo variation
Click the image to customize this logo

Thanks to a few subtle tweaks, we now have not one but two Burger King logo variations to take inspiration from.

What makes the Burger King logo work today?

Source: PRINT Magazine
Source: PRINT Magazine

The 2021 Burger King logo can be used in any way possible. It serves as a great profile picture, looks great on sustainable packaging cartons, and even adorns t-shirt designs with a legible font and doesn’t try too hard to make the brand “cool” as it once did.

Customers instantly recognize the emblem as being linked with the Burger King brand due to its long history with the company. Its ubiquitous presence in modern culture is a testament to its cultural impact.

The bright logo colors—red, yellow, and blue—convey enthusiasm, appetite, and warmth. The logo is aesthetically appealing and enticing because it uses color combinations that are widely linked with fast food companies and promote appetite.

Source: Instagram
Source: Instagram

The Burger King logo is effective in its current role as a brand representative because it is instantly recognizable, simple, has appealing colors, has an iconic character, is consistent, and can be easily adapted to new situations.

A brief history of Burger King

Did you know that the success of McDonald’s was instrumental in inspiring Keith J. Kramer and Matthew Burns to create Insta-Burger King in 1953? The restaurant was located in Jacksonville, Florida. It was a period when a new cooking equipment called the Insta-Broiler was taking off.

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In just two years, the brand opened 40 new locations across Florida.

Source: Burger Beast
Source: Burger Beast

The business was sold to James McLamore and David R. Edgerton due to financial troubles. By 1959, the duo purchased international rights and changed the name to Burger King of Miami, which was quickly changed to Burger King Corporation.

This was the dawn of the massive franchising model that has inspired us all to taste the famous burger.

Source: Burger Beast
Source: Burger Beast

In 1967 the Burger King franchise was sold again to Pillsbury Company and was already 274 restaurants wide with an enviable valuation of $14 million. The brand spread far and wide until it was sold in 1989 for the third time to British liquor manufacturer Grand Metropolitan for $5.7 billion, who sold it at a loss to Texas Pacific Group for $1.6 billion.

Source: Mashed
Source: Mashed

Finally, in 2012, the brand landed with 3G Capital for $2.2 billion. Today, the chain is valued at $7.6 billion. What Burger King cannot make up in revenue numbers against McDonald’s, it makes up with rather cheeky advertising that wins the day for its fans and the brand.

What are some commonly asked questions about the Burger King logo designs? Get your questions answered with these three FAQs.

1. Why did Burger King change their logo?

It was an effort to attract more regulars and develop a steady stream of word-of-mouth by providing them with healthier meal options. In short, the rebranding of Burger King involves both a new logo and the introduction of healthier menu items.

2. What is the concept of the Burger King logo?

There's nothing cryptic about the Burger King logo; it's actually fairly literal, depicting a burger with the meat layer replaced by a two-tiered wordmark. The burger is the brand's signature item and the major reason the company exists.

3. Who made the first Burger King logo?

One year after the first restaurant was launched, original owners Keith J. Kramer and Matthew Burns designed the brand's first logo design; a design that featured the restaurant's name in a bold, all-caps font set beneath a half-circle sun.

Bottom line

Whatsoever one may opine, all Burger King logos stood their respective tests of time and lived to tell the tale. The brand is bold, confident, and assertive. With its fiery colors, the logo does this ideology a service by making itself useful across modern platforms.

Burger King has come a long way from being a company that prides itself on its broiler equipment to one that burns its high-flying competition out of the market. And we tip our hats to this resolute brilliance.

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