Established in 1965 as Pete’s Super Submarines (renamed in 1968 to how we know it today), Subway is a fast-food restaurant franchise serving sandwiches and salads through more than 44,000 locations in 112 countries, making it the largest fast-food chain in the world — McDonald’s has 36,000 locations. Subway’s sandwiches are eatable, almost good; they bake their own bread in each location and the vegetables and proteins are crisp and fresh. Their main drawback, to me, is how uninviting most of their locations are, making the food look less quality than it actually is to their credit. Maybe the in-store experience will improve in 2017 when Subway starts rolling out the new logo and identity introduced this past weekend as the chain premiered a couple of TV spots during the Olympics. No design credit given.
The new logo stands up tall, bold and confident, capturing the essence of the brand in a fresh, contemporary look. The core colors have been optimized to live and work across all channels. And the symbol, a new asset for the brand, distills the iconic arrows into a powerful and simple mark. Capturing the essence of the brand in a smaller footprint, the arrows symbolize the choices SUBWAY® provides its guests.
Most will have this version of the logo in mind — I know I did, since it’s what’s on most stores — but they’ve been using a stripped-back version without the stroke and a single color for some time now that is a little classier. The arrows on the “S” and “Y” have always been kind of dopey, giving both letters unflattering appendages but, at least, the condensed, italic typography kept the logo looking contained and dynamic.
The new logo changes to a non-italic, geometric-ish wordmark that has zero motion and looks almost like a light Brutalist structure that makes the logo feel heavy, static, and sluggish. The appendage feeling of the old logo is exaggerated in this new one, with the arrow in the “Y” making a hard 90-degree turn and extending far beyond its visual area. This “Y” is my new most-hated part of any logo; it makes me really upset. The one in the “S” is a little less annoying but only because it’s less prominent.
It’s hard to dissociate Subway from its current logo because it’s such a prominent brand that’s everywhere, we’ve been seeing it for so many years, and, as usual, it’s hard to accept change at first but it’s still difficult to see the improvement here other than changing to more or less land within today’s minimalist trend as well as the trend of going back in time to older versions of a company’s logo — the new one is more like an evolution of the pre-2000s logos. Perhaps its application will make a better case for it.
The new symbol is actually clever in hiding the same “S” in the new logo between two large arrows and, in turn, forming a larger, graphic “S”. I can see this becoming highly successful, relevant, and recognizable as it becomes the social media icon — which I’m guessing it will.
The TV spots are fine but ultimately great simply because they don’t have Jared Fogle in them anymore. The main spot is even uplifting and the logo looks nice against a sunset. Overall, like all new logos, this one will become the new normal soon enough but the blander approach is still hard to digest for now.
Thanks to Sebastien Greffe for the tip.