Why Do So Many Fast Food Franchises Use Red And Yellow In Their Logos?

fast food logos red yellow why


Have you ever noticed that a whole lot of fast food franchises use the colors red and yellow in their logos?

McDonald’s, Burger King, In-N-Out, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, Pizza Hut, Dairy Queen, Sonic, Krystal, Popeyes, Arby’s, Jack In The Box, Chick-Fil-A, KFC, and Wendy’s, just to name a few all use either red or a combination of red and yellow in their logos.

Surely that isn’t just some sort of wild coincidence, right?

It’s not.

According to psychologist and leading color expert Karen Haller, these fast food chains know exactly what they are doing.

“Looking at the positive psychology qualities of red & yellow in relation to the fast food industry, red triggers stimulation, appetite, hunger, it attracts attention,” she explains. “Yellow triggers the feelings of happiness and friendliness.

“When you combine red and yellow it’s about speed, quickness.”

The color yellow is also the most visible color in daylight (and works pretty well at night too when lit up).

A study by the University Of New Hampshire claimed the color red tends to trigger “stimulation, appetite, hunger, and attracts attention” – all things a fast food restaurant wants.

There’s also the alleged “ketchup and mustard effect.”

Colors are also communicated more quickly to our brains than words.

A 2006 study published in the journal Management Decision revealed that people can make 62% to 90% of their snap decisions about products based on color alone.

Interestingly, several McDonald’s restaurants have switched over to or added the color green.

The reason why, according to Haller, is because “green elicits the feelings of nature, natural and environmentally friendly. It’s no longer about rushing in for a quick bite to eat.”

Starbucks’ logo is green. Subway combines yellow and green. Sbarro combines red and green. So does Baja Fresh, Quiznos, Krispy Kreme and Applebee’s.

So, if you ever decide to start up a new one of these fast food franchises, perhaps your logo should be some combination of red, yellow and green. Might as will push all of the buttons, right?


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Before settling down at BroBible, Douglas Charles, a graduate of the University of Iowa (Go Hawks), owned and operated a wide assortment of websites. He is also one of the few White Sox fans out there and thinks Michael Jordan is, hands down, the GOAT.