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McDonald's EU Logotype presentation by MartinSilvertant McDonald's EU Logotype presentation by MartinSilvertant

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McDonald's EU Logotype presentation
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Client information:

Client: McDonald's
Location: United States
Website: www.mcdonalds.nl
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Production information:

Program(s): Illustrator CS6, InDesign CS6
Year: 2013
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I recently went to McDonald's and I was bothered by the design of the letter 'a'. When I had a closer look at the logotype at home, I noticed the 'M' is also too dark. So here's my version of the logo.

And yes, the brand color is green. That's the official branding of McDonald's in the Netherlands. I thought the brand changed globally, but apparently just in the Netherlands. The interior architecture of the restaurants also changed. I guess with all these changes and the fact McDonald's offers several salads these days we're almost going to believe McDonald's is actually pretty healthy.
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NOTE: Download the PDF to view the presentation correctly; you need to be able to skip to the next page (rather than scroll) to compare the versions of the logos and see the changes.
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:icondesouza-ramiro:
desouza-ramiro Featured By Owner May 10, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That /a between Helvetica and Univers looks really nice.
Also, I always thought the /d looked a little weird because of the very big x-height.

Still red and yellow down here in Uruguay.
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:iconmartinsilvertant:
MartinSilvertant Featured By Owner May 11, 2013  Professional General Artist
Thanks. The more I look at it though, I like the Univers-like /a of the final page. Initially it was just too big of a change for me, but it fits better with the design of the other letters.

Indeed the short ascenders are a little weird, and I even considered raising them a bit, but I actually think it's pretty good for a logo. It almost turns the lowercase letters in a sort of small-caps. The very large x-height works well for me.

I guess the change from red to green is only in Europe. We Europeans are so gullible when it comes to products which appear healthy, and the new branding and interior architecture certainly makes McDonald's look more healthy and modern. It's quite amazing how much psychological impact branding can have.
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:iconmtcarpenter:
MTCarpenter Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2013  Professional General Artist
I do sign work for a living. I'm not quite as educated in the nuances of typography as you are, but I have a pretty good feel for what works well and what doesn't in a larger sense. But I love the fact that you went to McDonald's and were bothered by the typography. There are many times I go into businesses and see how poorly signage has been either developed or installed. Shoddy lettering on glass is a big one for me. Thin, spindly lettering for longer distance viewing is another. It's like I'm never off duty. :)

I enjoyed this entry in that I had to look very closely as the suggestions you are making. I like the tweaks and in a way it's helped me think more about the typography corrections that can be made in regard to design.
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:iconmartinsilvertant:
MartinSilvertant Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2013  Professional General Artist
Indeed, there is a lot of bad signage around. In fact, most graphic designers simply don't know enough about type and typography (almost nothing, actually), and so there is a lot of bad typography around. The sad thing is that people got so familiar with bad typography that they don't quite know what good typography is supposed to be like. In my opinion the graphic design industry is seriously lacking here. Every design team could use a proper typographer. What possibly bothers me most of all is the fact that virtually everyone uses a hyphen where an en dash should be used (in ranges of numbers predominantly). This error even occurs on big brands like Heinz Ketchup. I can't help but think "if only they had me in their team". I mean, generally no one will notice these errors, but that doesn't mean it's justified. I rather compare it to using a comma where a dot should be used; the difference is subtle, and yet the distinction in function is unmistakable.

Some years ago during my first year at the art academy I had typography class and we were shown a series of photos from signage and shop fronts done by some Dutch typographer. He took pictures of errors and then digitally fixed the errors. I remember thinking things like "What's the difference?" and in general I considered it nitpicking, but it was fascinating nonetheless. Some examples were more serious mistakes, like a serif 'M' which was placed on the shop the wrong way so the thick vertical would be on the left side instead of on the right side. Anyway, it wasn't until 2 years later that I became obsessed with type (and I don't know why it took 2 years), and now I'm very much like the typographer from years ago and everyone raises an eyebrow at my work, just as I did back then. It's funny how that goes.

I'm glad you find this presentation interesting. I also have an improved version of the Max Mara logotype in my gallery, and an improved version of a local marketing company I worked at called 'Tomorrow'. I quite enjoy improving type in other logos. I notice the flaws so much quicker than in my own designs. I usually need an extra pair of eyes to point out the flaws in my own designs.
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:iconmtcarpenter:
MTCarpenter Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2013  Professional General Artist
It's funny - with the backward "M" thing - if I had a dollar for every time I've seen a 3D letter that had a backward "M" installed, or a "W". "O"'s are funny in that (as you well know) there is a top and bottom to most "O"'s, but sign shop installers put them upside down all the time. Cracks me up. And I always make it a point when we do installs that I have the guys mark the tops and backs of the letters to help minimize the errors.

As I look back, I really wished I had taken a typography class. I'm about 70% self taught (which shows), and the rest was from a good friend and boss who was an old school sign painter. Like with real brushes. I think I'd be like you - wanting to fiddle with things to get them just right. Maybe one day when I have the time and money I will take one. Our local community college has quite an excellent program for design, and they offer a course in typography.

The computer has become a crutch for designers as opposed to a tool. I'm guilty of it for sure. I try my best to minimize my errors. But the biggest issue is that people think just because they can buy Photoshop they can design. And like you said, it shows in their work. I recently did a job for a group that had their video guy design some 4'x8' panels with their logo on it because, you know, since he was the video guy he knew all about graphic design work, especially in a large format. They didn't want to pay me to do the layout for them.
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:iconmartinsilvertant:
MartinSilvertant Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013  Professional General Artist
Hehe I never quite realize it's a common error in your field. That would make the job enjoyable for me, to see how others are messing up and I have to point to the fact that letters have their own direction.

I actually learned most about typography myself. The typography classes at school are actually pretty shallow, unless you go to a special typography course. After I get my bachelor in graphic design I want to get my master in typography & communication. People from all over the world come to the art academy in The Hague (The Netherlands) or the university at Reading (United Kingdom) to learn about typography and type design.

In the final year of my multi-media design education I was giving presentations about typography and the teacher asked my PDF to put on her website and send to her colleagues. I became knowledgeable enough that right now I present it as my expertise when I apply for a graphic design job. I still don't have a job though haha

But the biggest issue is that people think just because they can buy Photoshop they can design.
That's definitely a big issue, and I've been guilty of that myself. I guess most amateurs start out messing around in Photoshop. What's troublesome is that people do typography in Photoshop. I worked for bands for years and always did the typography in the booklet of the album in Photoshop, until I learned the typography features in InDesign are far superior. In Photoshop you basically can't do anything with hyphenation, justification settings, tabs etc. The worst thing is Photoshop's ability to apply faux bold, faux small-caps and faux italics. When you activate the bold icon and the typeface you selected doesn't have a bold font, it will just generate a faux bold one. It's even worse with small-caps, where it will just scale a capital down and act like that's a proper small-capital. Of course, by scaling it down you're also scaling down the weight, so it's always obvious when the typeface doesn't feature small-caps. I sometimes do fake small-caps by scaling it down and use a slightly bolder font though. Like, the first letter would be in 18pt Regular and the rest of the word in 15pt Semibold (those numbers aren't accurate, but just to give an example).

They didn't want to pay me to do the layout for them.
That's terrible. I recently worked for a few weeks at a marketing company to help them out with designing these soccer sticker books for a campaign in all the major super markets. I had to deal with a lot of terrible soccer team logos, which were obviously made by one of the club members or family. In that case I kind of understand it though. A small soccer club doesn't have much money to spend anyway, and they're usually quickly satisfied with just about any design which features their name. Of course they're proud, and never learned graphic design so they couldn't judge the quality of a design as well as we could. Of course it's largely subjective as well, but most clients forget that it's not just that. We studied for years to become a graphic designer (which, I have to admit doesn't seem to say that much though, but at least they know the design principles). That's very different from someone who's creative and just messes around in Photoshop.
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:icondashing-the-rainbow:
dashing-the-rainbow Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2013   Digital Artist
wait...green? wow...here it's red and yellow....wow
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:iconmartinsilvertant:
MartinSilvertant Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2013  Professional General Artist
Yeah, it always used to be red and yellow here but they changed it last year. I was very surprised to see the branding didn't change globally. It rather waters down the brand if you brand each country differently. I wonder if the Netherlands is the only country where the branding is green. I checked the German website, and they only use yellow there but I'm not sure what they use for the restaurants now.
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:icondashing-the-rainbow:
dashing-the-rainbow Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2013   Digital Artist
yeah,im wonddering that too,and i read about how you said the architecture was different. here,the style of mcdonalds has changed (atleast in my neighborhood)about 7 times.

although,i think that there are alot of countries useing americas colors,and architecture....like japan...
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:iconmartinsilvertant:
MartinSilvertant Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2013  Professional General Artist
Someone told me the branding is also green in the Czech Republic, but by far most countries still seem to be using red. I'm not sure which color I prefer. I guess it doesn't matter. I go to McDonald's maybe twice per year.
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:icondashing-the-rainbow:
dashing-the-rainbow Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2013   Digital Artist
that's it....wow,I feel like a REAL American right now...seriously,last week I went like,3 times ...
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:iconmartinsilvertant:
MartinSilvertant Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013  Professional General Artist
Haha that's a lot. I do eat fast food though. McDonalds is just too expensive for me. I'm sure I would get a Big Mac once a week if it were cheaper.
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:iconlord-darken:
lord-darken Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2013
Netherlands is not only country where the branding changed, here in Czech Republic is green branding too.
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:iconmartinsilvertant:
MartinSilvertant Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2013  Professional General Artist
That's nice to know. I wonder if more countries will change from red to green.
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:iconstudio384:
Studio384 Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2013  Hobbyist Interface Designer
Largest part of Europe is using this new colorscheme.
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:iconsierradesign:
SierraDesign Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2013   Interface Designer
Green here in the UK, too.
They've undergone a complete rebrand here.
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:iconmartinsilvertant:
MartinSilvertant Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2013  Professional General Artist
Nice. I guess Europe is rebranding then.
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