Rebranding: Burger King going strong with its 2021 retro style.

Last Modified: Feb 21st, 2024 - Category: Blog Articles About UX, UI, Research and Development, Marketing, News, UX
burger king rebranding campaign

Burger King’s brand identity is undergoing a massive makeover, with a complete rebranding strategy, the first in more than 20 years.

The new brand identity was created by Siegel + Gale design agency, and is based on colors inspired by its “authentic and delicious food”, making use of orange, yellow and brown. This is not completely new, as a matter of fact it goes back to the 2 versions of the logo design used between 1969 and 1999. And obviously, this means the new brand image has a retro-influenced identity.

BK 2021 rebranding: logo design evolution

Burger King Rebranding

Burger King’s rebranding strategy revolves around several axes:

As expected, this rebrand is consistent across all these axes, and colors and typography create a sense of continuity between the different dimensions of the user experience, going from physical to digital in a seamless way.

The new brand identity brings memories of better days and childhood. Clearly aimed to 35+ years old target, the result is a classic between classics, with a touch of “cool”. Almost like “hipsters in Burger King”.

Logo Design

The centerpiece of the rebranding is the logo design. The new logo gets rid of the blue curve that has been in use since 1999. Burger King said in a press release that the new “minimalist logo perfectly matches the evolution of the brand at the time.” . It’s also a tribute to the history of the brand, with a revamped look that emulates two different logos used between 1969 and 1999.

Burger King 2021 logo design
The new logo design since 2021

In terms of typography, the new typography is called Flame, custom made for the company. This typography is curvy and playful, easy to adapt to designs based on typography, as you will see in the new packaging .

According to Burger King’s corporate offices, the new font is inspired by the shapes of its food because it is “rounded, bold and delicious”.

Flame custom typography
Example of Burger King’s new Flame custom typography

In short: the logo design is simple, memorable, with a classic style that is nonetheless modern.

The shape of the buns is an excellent container for the wordmark, creating a combined logo recognizable to the naked eye and even from a certain distance.

The choice of colors is sober and allows for subsequent play with classic-style designs and lots of hand-drawn illustrations to create a feeling of classicism. We will surely see many posters with a style reminiscent of the 60s in the USA.

The branding agency in charge of the project worked a lot on this logo design. Despite its apparent simplicity, when we see the development of the full brand identity we can realize that it is a very meticulous work which required a lot of study. We can’t really find anything to quibble about in the logo design, it’s an instant classic.

Branded Uniforms

As we all know, a corporate identity redesign doesn’t stop with a logo. Instead, the visual identity is used to give a voice to the brand.

In this case, the rebranding is extended to its employees’ look. This way, BK’s employees will wear new uniforms that blends “a comfortable contemporary style with distinctive colors and graphics.”

As part of this new brand voice, real employees appear in the new ads and promotional images.

Burger King rebranding: cool uniform design
Burger King uniform design used by real employees
Burger King uniform design
Great uniform design. Please pay attention to the small details such as the lines, the different color buttons and the illustrations.

Packaging Design

As mentioned above, the redesigned packaging highlights the new logo, includes “playful ingredient illustrations” and adjectives that describe the food, using sensory user experience in order to attract customers. The colors, the emotional design, words such as “crunchy” and “tasty” are good proof of this.

BK rebranding: Flame logo typography
Burger King’s rebranding includes a beautiful custom font called Flame which allows for playful typography designs

On top of this, BK announced a few months ago that 2021 would be the year of “reusable packaging” in partnership with Loop. This announcement came months before the new rebrnading was unveiled, so we’re not sure if it is still the case. Nevertheless, it’s quite reasonable to expect it.

Digital Experience and User Interface

Burger King website UI (user interface)
The new user interface is consistente with the whole rebranding in terms of aesthetics

In our digital times, digital presence is a must. And of course, Burger King didn’t left it out of this new rebrand strategy.

In terms of user interface (UI), the site didn’t change much, it’s more or less the same features and user flow they had until yesterday. So we can say it’s only a face lifting that applies the new retro style, colors and typography.

bk mobile user interface
Example of mobile user interface

While there weren’t a lot of changes in terms of user flow, the user experience is improved with this new look, from a quite dull and boring site to a very interesting web design .

After some analysis, we think the UI design is not completed, and there are upcoming changes on the website, so be ready for some surprises.

Physical User Experience: Restaurant Design and Signage

In September, Burger King introduced new coronavirus-era restaurant designs with triple drive-thrus, burger pick-up lockers and take-out counters.

Rebranding includes a new architecture
Rebranding includes a new architecture and a whole new user experience

The new restaurant designs will include mobile ordering and curbside pick-up areas, self-service and elevator-less ordering areas (10 points for accessibility), an enhanced self-service experience, outdoor dining areas and sustainable design elements, consistent with the sustainable packaging mentioned above.

And of course, the existing designs will be modified to highlight the renewed visual identity. As the time of writing this, in our country (Argentina) only two restaurants started with some subtle modifications (basically some of the ads and the Burger King name with the new font, plus some wood added to walls), although they still sport the old logo as brand emblem.

Marketing Strategy

With this new rebranding strategy, customers will start to see part of the new visual identity on advertisements, posters, and packaging almost immediately. However, the entire renovation of the nearly 19,000 global restaurants will take several years (see previous paragraph).

Brand voice and design style

Another part of Burger King’s turnaround plan includes adding more items of value, which it did last month with the launch of a new $ 1 menu in US restaurants.

The company also announced that it will invest in more technology, including a new mobile app that will suggest personalized offers to customers and include a new loyalty component. This component was required by investors as a way to compete with other loyalty programs such as those from Starbucks and MacDonalds.

Perhaps the fresh design and familiarity could rekindle diners’ interest at Burger King. Owner Restaurant Brands International said the burger chain has been struggling through the pandemic. In the three months ending Sept. 30, sales at its restaurants open for at least one year fell 7%. Meanwhile, sales at rivals McDonald’s and Wendy’s outperformed Burger King during the same quarter.

Burger King rebranding conclusion

Without a doubt, a great and much needed rebranding effort. The new elements are cleverly disguised as “old and familiar”, while looking modern at the same time.

It is quite evident that the user experience as a whole is cleverly designed using an emotional design and a sensory user experience. The combination of different emotional and sensory triggers provides a sense of belonging. It’s almost like the brand is hugging you. And that’s not bad!

On the “needs more work” side: I think the user interface for both website and mobile app needs a bit of work. It has the brand style (to some extent), but it also looks a bit sloppy, like something done fast for the rebrand launching.

All in all, an incredible effort on full branding experiences and an instant classic that will last for many years to come.

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