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What is the story behind the McDonalds logo?

EVERYONE instantly recognises McDonald’s famous golden arches.

But what does the logo mean? Here’s everything you need to know…

McDonald's yellow and red drive-thru logo advertising sign


McDonald’s yellow and red drive-thru logo advertising signCredit: Getty

What is the story behind the McDonalds logo?

The golden arches are based on the architecture of the first ever franchised restaurant in 1952.

In 1961 owner Ray Kroc realised that he could use the two arches to form the letter M.

Is there a hidden meaning behind the McDonalds logo? 


Some say the rounded logo was actually designed to represent a pair of breasts.

The Freudian symbolism was devised in the fast food giant’s earliest days, but McDonald’s was ready to abandon the logo in the 1960’s.

That’s when design consultant and psychologist Lewis Cheskin stepped in to urge company bosses to keep the booby design.

The symbolism behind the arches was intended to represent a mother’s nurturing breasts, subconsciously making hungry customers feel comforted and at home.

And the chain’s old slogan, “Give Mom a night off”, also used to fit this psychological pattern.

Of course, this isn’t the only way McDonald’s marketers have appealing to our subconscious.


The colours used in the logo also have a hidden meaning.

McDonald’s uses Gold and Red as the primary colours in its logo design.

Gold represents the famous arches of its first restaurant.

Meanwhile the red colour represents the food industry of this company.

These two colours are also know to have a psychological effect on customers.

According to Karen Haller, a leading international authority in the field of applied colour psychology, the combination of colours have a powerful impact.

She explained: “Red triggers stimulation, appetite, hunger; it attracts attention.

“Yellow triggers the feelings of happiness and friendliness. When you combine red and yellow it’s about speed, quickness. In, eat and out again.”

Karen also pointed out that yellow is the most visible colour in daylight, which is why those golden arches catch your eye even when you’re a fair distance away.

She added: “The language of colour is communicated quicker to the brain than words or shapes – as they work directly on our feelings and emotions.”

How many McDonalds logos have there been before? 

The logo of McDonald’s has been revamped several times before it went through the final iteration in 2003.

There have been four main logos in the past.

The current logo is one of the most recognisable in the world.

The firm’s deliberate targeting of children is all part of an attempt to establish brand loyalty from an early age.

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Colourful restaurants with playgrounds and kids TV ads are all devised based on the belief that children as young as two can develop an attachment to a brand.

In fact, market research has found that children can recognise a company logo before they learn to recognise their own name.

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