Looking to the past
Every font has a personality profile and I think we all agree that our digital engagement should be richer and more diverse. Heritage as inspiration is not a new idea, but there is a renewed sense that brands are looking to their past to onboard a deeper meaningful engagement with consumers. There’s never been a greater call to empathise with the state of things and to do good. This aspiration and ‘look back to move forward’ approach has given birth to a typographic nostalgia, vintage type and lettering used as a means to reconnect. It’s a trend that has slowly been gathering pace ever since the Chobani (InHouse), MailChimp (Collins), Meridian (BulletProof), Dunkin, etc rebrands of recent years and the approach continues to draw widespread adoration.
JKR’s deservedly headline grabbing rebrand of Burger King speaks to this emerging type and graphic trend that celebrates a softer service warmth. Going back to the past and re-doing as new; brand heritage reimagined, ethereal wood type classics updated as crisp digital pixels. A nod to the vintage typographic era of playful swashes, fat serifs, quirky letters and vibrant colour schemes. There is comfort to be found when paying homage to the warm and soft edge physicality of these letter shapes.
Burger King’s identity as a whole is conveying warmth in a way that celebrates creativity, and the brands typographic optimism is aligned to its warm bouncy burger iconography. This sense of fun and joy, shares comfort at a time when we most need it. And significantly, the rebrand has reframed brand typography for screen. The brands new typefaces ‘Flame Serif’ and ‘Flame Sans’ by Colophon are born from Burger King’s marketing archives, and as such they feel vintage and speak to the classic soft-service typography of the classic New York burger joint.
Nostalgia as a vehicle for empathy
‘Nostalgia’ as a theme is not a driver for change, but it is a vehicle to empathy in a world that seeks familiarity and comfort during difficult times. Designers are obsessed with the ‘iconicity’ of things, not only of logotypes, but of books, packaging, graphic ephemera. We just love this stuff. Everyone’s a collector of something. Brand leaders understand this too.
Burger King’s logo of 1969 was ripe for modern reinvention and it has been executed perfectly by Newlyn. It’s a no-nonsense logo that plays to all the flat goodness our pixelated screens can offer. It feels akin to a brand looking forward, thinking about sustainability and ‘eco branding’, another trend in its infancy. There's worthiness about all this.
Typically brands reinvent anew or evolve. JKR jumped back and reworked the logo in the middle. It’s as if they took an eraser to their brand of 20 years and hit refresh. Co-op and North worked a similar strategy with their rework of the 1968 Co-op logo, as did NASA with ‘the worm is back’ last year. But really nostalgia as brand is not really nostalgia at all because these logos have an inherent timelessness about them. Fashions come around and these expressions of brand feel as in-sync now as they once did then.