Taco Bell Logo Ditches Personality for Simplicity

November 18th, 2016

For the first time in over 20 years, Taco Bell revealed a new look for its iconic logo with the opening of it’s flagship restaurant on the Las Vegas strip. And like so many other logo redesigns this year, this “brand refresh” definitely raised a few eyebrows.

While the effort to evolve the logo to be more versatile in a multi-media world is commendable, some would argue that they took it too far. (Sound familiar, Instagram?)

What they did right:

Give more versatility to the logo by using only one color and positive and negative space.

By using positive and negative space in the logo icon, the new bell is versatile enough to be swapped out and used in any color, texture, or pattern as part of the brand’s new identity.

In the grand scheme of things, simplifying the logo icon was a strategic move for the restaurant chain. The previous purple, pink, and yellow icon made it complicated to show the logo on a dark or colored background. And with the highlights, shadows, and outlines around the bell, details of the symbol were lost when scaled down to a small size. Now, regardless of what size or color, Taco Bell’s logo can be used in just about any instance without losing the integrity of the brand’s symbol.

What they did wrong:

Give up personality for a bland typeface and minimal icon

As with any logo redesign, backlash and negative comments are expected after the initial release. In this redesign, the most popular complaint from customers is that the new logo is “lifeless, bland, and lacks personality.”  Compared side by side, the old logo grabs more attention by creating a sense of depth and dimension with highlights and shadows on the bell.  The iconic purple, pink and yellow colors of the bell are no longer used together in the new logo, but instead replaced with a white knockout version on a colored background. Yes, it’s clean, simple, and multifunctional—but is it exciting? Not really.

And by far, the least popular part of the logo redesign is the typeface used beneath the icon. By dropping the original heavy and wide typeface for a simple, geometric sans serif, the brand dropped any remaining personality it had left in the logo for a generic cookie-cutter look. Within a few weeks, the logo will most likely be lost in the crowd of all the other logos that took the exact same approach.

Like any other brand redesign that surfaced this year, there are both positives and negatives to every design. The fast food chain took a step out of the 90’s and into the 21st century with a minimal icon and a simple typeface. It’s just a shame they ditched their personality along the way.

Stefanie Osmond

Stefanie is Springboard's graphic designer and creative problem solver. Beyond her desk, she spends her time crafting, trying out new dinner recipes, watching competitive baking competitions, and sipping on tea.

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