Olive Garden: Joining the Crowd of Rebranding

Olive Garden has joined the bandwagon of rebranding where logos are going minimalist. Olive Garden’s old logo operated on the stylistic level, asserting itself in cursive with homey swishes and a rustic texture. Notice the way it even peeks out of the top of the sign, an homage to a kind of tiredness or perhaps laziness that we all know very well.

Olive Garden

Color and Typographic Elements in a Logo:

There’s a lot to be said for identifying and targeting your audience, especially in the restaurant business. Logos tend to exemplify the kinds of diners you desire in your establishment, both in terms of font design and color coordination.

The psychology of color has long suggested that certain colors are identified as more high-class, but the same goes for typography as well. There’s an elegance, a richness, and an understanding that one can acquire from a logo before even seeing a storefront. People can see faux-fanciness from a mile away, and spot a restaurant that’s too fancy for their evening without looking inside. It’s a big part of the way restaurants attract customers, and Olive Garden is using this principle to tap into a largely unexplored part of the sans serif tide that has struck logo design: the way they do away with specialization and appeal to wider audiences.

Olive Garden

The typography plays a large part in the specialization of logos. Images aside, it is the style and power of the type that makes it really jump out at viewers and establish the audience that it’s seeking. This can show itself in even tiny ways. Notice the difference between times new roman and another serif font, the ways the serifs interact in both their own letters and with other letters to form the fonts that we know and love?

Olive Garden

Understanding the Typographical Change:

There are two main things that it tries to do with this typographical change. The first, as I’ve written a lot about, is to join the trend of flat typography. It’s everywhere, and the restaurant world is seeing this shift as well.

The new logo reverses the color usage from the old logo to make the tree branch (no longer a grape vine) and the explanatory title green and the letters any color they need to be. In terms of actual typography, the logo is a bit strange. A script font graces the restaurant’s logos now, with a certain computer-generated randomness clearly meant to simulate the hand-written warmth of the previous version. It’s not as personable as before and the old and new logo designs clash to the point of flatness. It’s too flat for any of the letters to really be warm in the way that the worn green look of the original did. It’s just flat and curvy, like all the others. However, this is where the negative connotation turns positive.

One of the advantages of the new logo style is that it’s flat enough to become more chameleon. The old logo had family appeal before you even walked in the door. While this certainly endeared them to a certain kind of customer, it made others think twice. The new logo seems more generic because it’s just ‘Olive Garden’ enough to be both memorable to the old design and just flat enough to allow for a new audience.

Bottom Line: The New Logo Design

Typography has a lot of different uses in logo design, and while I bash on the new age of flatness a lot, this is one logo that seems to be unashamedly using it in a much needed manner. Olive Garden has had a long time with a certain identity and with a little change to its logo it is suggesting there are changes being made that are across the board. Maybe a more modern clientele? Maybe more romantic dinners? The eclectic flat design allows the restaurant to broaden its audience and in this age of competition that is something every restaurant needs to succeed and survive.

We are officially trending #featuringthisweek and #logodesignguru on twitter – following this week’s theme #rebranding. You can join us in promotion.

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