The Wendy’s Rebrand: Evolution or Revolution?

Over the past ten years, it seems that every fast food restaurant has been through at least a modernizing refresh in their core brand identity. Noticeably absent from this trend was Wendy’s – it turns out the burger chain’s identity hasn’t been updated in nearly 30 years! So, it’s about time for Wendy and her pigtails to get a facelift… right?

Well, the new brand mark is definitely more modern and streamlined, but to be honest when I first saw it I thought… that’s it? But upon learning more about the strategy behind the update, the conservative refresh began to make a bit more sense.

“We feel that we have a very authentic brand steeped in heritage,” says Wendy’s SVP of Communications Denny Lynch. “We want to tap into that legacy, but do it in the world of 2012.”

Apparently the rebrand process took two years, ranging from evolutionary to revolutionary solutions, and including consumers in the process. After completing the exploration phase, Wendy’s identified their three core brand components: the color red, Wendy herself, and “the wave,” and how the word “Wendy’s” is written on an upward slope. “When we showed them the radical designs, they said, that’s not you, that’s not you,” says Lynch.

So for the fast food chain defined mostly by tradition, it makes sense to go with a more subtle evolutionary approach. The logo is literally streamlined by the removal of the “Old Fashioned Hamburgers” descriptor, and the Western style dated letterforms have been replaced with a somewhat more modern feeling casual script word mark. Wendy herself was also modernized, with a cleaner and more graphic depiction of the icon illustration. Although we’re not jumping up and down over here in excitement, it’s a much-needed update that at least takes Wendy’s in the right direction.

Story details and images via Fast Co. Design.