I don’t know whether this is a positive or negative, but I have never eaten at Popeyes, the fast food chain serving fried chicken that seems to occupy a similar cult status to White Castle. Popeyes was served at Beyoncé and Jay Z’s wedding, it is the butt of the joke in films like Rush Hour and Little Nicky (okay, that may not be saying much but…), it finds its way to all sorts of lyrics, and people are always willing to admit it as a guilty pleasure. From what I gather, the spicy, Cajun-style, fried chicken there is delectable. I’ll find out one day, maybe. As kooky as the following to this fast food emporium is, its former logo was equally amusing (in that kitschy, fast food sort of way) and the colorful red-blue-and-yellow sign on the facade always stood out. With a new identity designed by Pentagram’s DJ Stout, Popeyes is positioning itself to be slightly more upscale (relatively speaking) while retaining its quirkiness.
Unlike the old identity, the new one features three elements — the Popeyes wordmark, the crest above, and an isolated “Dancing P” from the crest — that work together to create a more dynamic range of pieces (see below) instead of just emblazoning the logo on everything from cups to napkins. So, in all fairness, it’s hard to compare the two logos in the opening image, as the old one is clearly more “fun” against the new wordmark that looks static by comparison, but comes alive in applications. It’s a nice move to maintain the basic shapes of the letters from the old logo, except for the “Y,” and redraw them to appear straight as, aside from the spicy chicken, it’s the only element to tie in the old Popeyes with the new.
The boldest move in this identity is changing the colors, and I’m not positive it was necessary; boldening the Easter yellow was necessary though. The move to orange and red is pretty but sacrificing the blue is a little radical and could have probably been used as an accent color. Another new element is the use of black and white photographs of jazz musicians — which relate to Popeyes’ Louisiana roots — which I wonder how long it will last, it looks more like a temporary promotion than an element upon which to build a new identity. The images look completely out of place: Fast food fried chicken and good music is not an association I am willing to make any time soon. Despite these two apprehensions, I do like the new feel and it’s definitely a step in the right direction for this chain. The true test will be if Popeyes is served when Beyoncé and Jay Z renew their vows.