Out with the old, and in with new logos: legacy brands General Motors and Burger King announced the rollout of shiny new logos to kick-off 2021. Since this marks the first logo redesign in decades for both brands, we’ve rounded up the team’s thoughts on which rebranding strategy will prove most successful in the new year: BK’s move to pay homage to a classic past or GM’s to charge forward with a vision for the future.
I’ve never really been a fan of Burger King’s food, but this rebrand makes me want to be. Giving their iconic 90s logo a facelift with fun letterforms was the right move. Their clever monogram is pretty slick, but I’m most excited about the custom typeface, expressive illustration style, and textured photography. The funky, attention-grabbing swashes in the new type complement the energetic illustrations nicely. And these photos…should I feel guilty for looking at a sandwich like that? Maybe. Can’t wait to see this new brand direction out in the wild.
GM’s rebrand is a mixed bag for me. I like the new monogram by itself—I’m glad they gave the letters and the underline a uniform stroke. The plug shape in the negative space is definitely a nice nod to their EV initiative. However, the round corners of the holding shape feel arbitrary, and I probably wouldn’t have chosen for the typography in the main wordmark to be so tracked out.
Spencer Watson, Jr. Designer
Burger King leaned into a human truth with this work: people are craving nostalgia. By bringing back the history that built the platform the brand enjoys today, BK reflects on its past with the same nostalgia its customers find solace in, making the brand relatable—even for a fast-food giant.
GM seems to have taken the opposite approach. They’ve shed the equity and comfort of the old logo, opting to reintroduce themselves entirely rather than lean into their legacy. Their intention is relevant, though, as GM’s new environmental goals give them a reason to prove their commitment through their logo.
Samara Anderson, VP Sales and Marketing
This Burger King rebrand was an absolute A+ move. They took the best elements of their old-school branding without making the mistake of overhauling too much for the digital age. The new designs feel elevated and modern, yet oh-so-retro, which parallels consumer cravings these days. And that monogram iteration? Incredible. This work is smart, fresh, and full of personality—from the logo down to the food packaging itself.
While GM’s new logo captures the futuristic era they are transitioning into in the vehicle manufacturing space, it just seems like there might have been better ways to do so. It’s unfortunate for GM that this BK rebrand happened at the same time. In comparison, this one just feels a bit like a missed opportunity.
Riley Collins, Jr. Content Producer
GM’s new logo feels a bit lackluster to me. The gradient style in the coloring says “90s/early 2000s” to me, making it seem almost as outdated as the company’s former logo. Unfortunately, this one falls flat.
The Burger King work, on the other hand, is a winner. It’s creative, and the intention shows through in every detail. The throwback designs are the perfect type of throwback—instead of saying “dated,” the designs say “nostalgic” in a way that makes you feel all warm and cozy inside. I also love how they opted to use real employees in the ads to show off the updated uniforms. Every aspect and detail of this rebrand was smart. That’s what makes it win.
Carrie Pickering, Digital Project Manager/Producer
As humans and not robots, we assume that newer means better. It’s the same reason we keep refreshing our socials all the time. Brains are weird like that from what I hear. When it comes to logos, however, sometimes the old ones are objectively better.
Matt Reed, Creative Technologist & proud supporter of the 2003 Pepsi logo