“Buffalo Wild Wings, founded in 1982, is the largest sports bar brand in the United States. Globally, there are more than 1,200 restaurants in 10 countries. Buffalo Wild Wings is part of the Inspire Brands family of restaurants.”
Interbrand (Cincinnati, OH office)
Following the brand’s acquisition by Inspire Brands earlier this year, Buffalo Wild Wings sought to develop a new playbook centered on taking the ‘wings, beer, sports’ brand to a new level. Enlisting the help of Interbrand, Buffalo Wild Wings’ debuted their new logo as their first step in a series of strategic moves to refocus the sports bar experience across its whole system of more than 1,200 restaurants.
Outwardly expressing the new brand strategy, a refreshed visual identity system signals change. The new Buffalo Wild Wings logo is a contemporary take on the mark. It leverages iconic elements from the past while simultaneously introducing new elements indicative of where the brand is going. The new logo also provides flexibility, as it consists of a system of multiple versions which can be used horizontally or vertically, and it can be executed across a range of media activations.
A range of visual touchpoints were created to bring the Buffalo Wild Wings brand to life, including capturing the story of the winged buffalo, dubbed ‘The Buffalore’, and celebrating the iconic range of flavorful sauces. The new graphic style is as distinctive as it is appealing, delivering a mouth-watering message and keeping the theme that ‘wild’ is our middle name.
Images (opinion after)
I’ll start by saying that even though I am not a big admirer of the old logo I acknowledge its effectiveness in having created a recognizable icon and a visual tone that’s appropriate for wings, beer, and sports. The new logo is a lateral and mostly backward evolution, especially when it comes to the icon. The old one had strong, pointy, confident lines and used a relatively low amount of vector points to get the buffalo’s hairiness across. The new one is more complex and wobbly all around. Whereas the wings in the old icon looked integrated, this time they feel tacked on. The chin and leg hair now looks more like an old man. The one positive of the new icon is the stance of the buffalo that is more forward-leaning. The wordmark was bad then, it is bad now. Possibly worse now in that it’s trying to be cool or clever with all the awkward flared serifs. Hard to tell what’s up with the applications and how they directly apply to the restaurant experience. In terms of the advertising shown, I don’t know if there were literal depictions of the winged buffalo before or not but it’s not really something I want to see visualized so realistically. The overlay yellow type also has a dated advertising-y look that’s not entirely flattering. Overall, this doesn’t seem to move the needle in any positive or negative way — a change that will most likely go unnoticed too and not in that cool Lufthansa way.
Thanks to Bart L. O'Dell for the tip.