This is a very old entry — images are small, formatting is off.
First opened in 1968 in a single location in Lakeland, Fl, Red Lobster, “the world’s largest casual dining seafood restaurant”, currently has almost 700 locations across the U.S. and Canada, with more than 63,000 employees. Owned by Darden Restaurants — which also owns Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse and named after Red Lobster founder Bill Darden — Red Lobster’s average sales per restaurant for this past fiscal year was $3.9 million. I haven’t been to a Red Lobster in more than a decade, but I always remember eating my belly out at that place and the garlic biscuits that they serve while you wait for your food are heavenly. It’s not 5-star dining, but it’s very decent, accessible seafood. Last week, Red Lobster debuted a new national TV advertising campaign featuring a new tagline, “Sea Food Differently”, (cute!), and a new logo. Press release credits Grey New York for the overall campaign, not certain if they did the logo as well. Red Lobster will also be updating all of its new locations to the Bar Harbor design, “inspired by the New England coast.”
Neither the old nor the new logo is better than the other. They each have their cons and they each, well, don’t have many real pros to speak of with conviction. But let’s try. The previous lobster was much better, it felt like something you would find, or at least imagine to find, in “the New England Coast” as Red Lobster is trying to mimic. It had that vintage, woodcut texture to it that never fails to make people hungry. Sure, probably a pain in the ass to reproduce but surely there could have been room for a professional illustrator to update the lobster to retain that effect with more flexibility for reproduction, instead of getting the new latex-covered lobster. Seriously, I’ve never seen a lobster so shiny or smooth. The typography in the new logo is a slight improvement over the old but that’s simply because condensed bold serifs don’t rock my world and because it’s not the 1980s anymore. There is a second tag line, “Fresh Fish, Live Lobster”, that someone jammed into the bottom of the lock-up, either as an afterthought or as a display of lack of proportion and spacing awareness. I liked the old framing device better, even though it was slightly ambiguous. The new rounded-corner rectangle is fairly boring. Overall, it feels like an update that makes sense and Red Lobster feels more contemporary but it’s quite middle-of-the-road logo design. Put a garlic biscuit on it though and I’d be sold.