Fast Food

Here's Why So Many Fast Food Logos Are Red

It's a primal thing.
Here's Why So Many Fast Food Logos Are Red
Image credit: Justin Sullivan | Getty Images
3 min read
This story originally appeared on Business Insider

By David Anderson and Jordan Bowman

McDonald's. Arby's. Wendy's. Burger King. Jack in the Box. In-N-Out and more all use the color red heavily in their logos, why? The answer goes back thousands of years. Following is a transcript of the video. 

Hmmmm... These companies have something in common. Can you spot it? 

Well, besides all being fast food chains… They're all red. And it's not a coincidence. Color is one of the many tactics companies use to connect with customers. And if swearing off fast food wasn't hard enough, those colorful red logos might make it even harder to ignore. 

The average human can see ten million colors, but red is special. Turns out, it's one of the first colors our ancient ancestors thought important enough to name. Back before alphabets and writing, early human languages were surprising… uncolorful. There were words for "black" and "white' and "red" but not much else. In fact, blue didn't show up until thousands of years later in 200 A.D. 

As a result, we have a deeper connection to red than any other color on the spectrum and we react to it in certain ways that actually play to fast food companies' advantage. For starters, researchers have found that red can evoke a sense of urgency. On top of that, it also has an innate ability to whet our appetites. And when you pair those two together you've got the perfect recipe to attract hungry customers who want food, fast. 

Related: The Secrets of Successful Logos

So that red logo isn't just a welcoming sign it's a sly seduction for your brain. Now, it's unclear why red makes us feel this way. But perhaps it has something to do with where the word comes from. Many ancient languages, including Hebrew and from tribes of New Guinea, first named red from their word for "blood." 

For example, red in Hebrew looks like this  and is pronounced "ah-dohm," while blood looks like  and pronounced "dahm." But red's bloody beginning has transformed over millennia. During medieval times, for example, red was worn by royals as a status symbol. And today, brides in many parts of India are married in red dress. 

In fact, red is one of the few colors today that cultures all over the world view positively. And it's no wonder companies dedicate so much thought to their logos. After all, we're a visual species. Despite having five senses, 80 percent of the information our brains process on a daily basis comes from our eyes. 

Related: Why Small Businesses Need Strong Logos

And according to marketing company WebPageFX, nearly 85 percent of consumers say the main reason they choose one product over the other is color. Another 80 percentsaid that colors are what give brands that memorable stamp of recognition. 

Just think what the McDonald's logo would look like in blue, green or pink. It's just not the same, right?

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