This is a very old entry — images are small, formatting is off.
I have never eaten at Hardee’s or Carl’s Jr, mostly because I rarely eat at fast food burger places but partly because if you asked me to name five Quick Service Restaurants (QSR for short) focusing on burgers I would have a hard time getting past McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s. In fact, it wasn’t until today, while googling around, that I finally made the connection that the faux hot commercial with Paris Hilton soaping up a Bentley was for Carl’s Jr. And for Hardee’s. Apparently my brand neurons never made a full synapse between these two places and Paris. Or that Hardee’s was the crazies that were pushing the 1420-calorie burger earlier this century. Perhaps the reason is that I’m not their target audience: Young, hungry guys. I guess I am the three things: Relatively young, sometimes hungry and genderly a guy. But when put together, I prefer to disassociate from my brethren. And, hopefully, this too explains why I can’t bear the sight of these new logos and much less comprehend how “research showed that the new logos were seen as classier, more unique, more appealing and more attractive overall.”
Let me first say, that the two new logos are appropriate. They fit the market, and they blend into the current state of fast food chain identity design: Extra bubbly with a side of newness. But let’s not try to associate them with classiness nor uniqueness. In terms of design execution, a closer look at the logos reveals a lack of both attributes. (Copperplate anyone?).
The new twin identities were designed by California-based Zeist Design to bring to a close the restaurant association that began in 1997 when CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Carl’s Jr., acquired Hardee’s and started merging both restaurants. In some cases a Carl’s Jr. overtook an existing Hardee’s and, overall, Carl’s Jr.’s “Happy Star” ketchuped its way into the Hardee’s identity. The new, synchronized identity will have to be integrated into — as of January of 2006 — 1,049 Carl’s Jr. restaurants and 1,993 Hardee’s. That should feed plenty of young, hungry guys.