By: Clifton Alexander
I love tacos. I REALLY love tacos. Besides my all-time favorite at El Camino Real, I’ve tried every taco in town from every hole-in-the-wall joint to all the fancy places to the fast food chains, including Taco Bell. In fact, I eat Taco Bell on a fairly regular occasion (I’m a sucker for the Fiery Doritos Taco Supreme)!
Taco Bell launched a new brand identity yesterday. That’s a pretty big deal. Anytime a large public-facing company launches a new identity, it’s put under a microscope and the entire internet explodes with so-called “experts” giving their opinion as to why the new identity will lead to the ultimate demise of the company.
In my opinion, Taco Bell is one of the more progressive chains in its marketing efforts, from specialty campaigns like “Steal a Base, Steal a Taco” to its focus on technology and online customizable ordering. I LOVE what they are doing with their online domain name (ta.co). So incredibly simple and perfect.
Taco Bell had an identity crisis: a very modern company with a not-so-modern identity. So they changed it. They took away the 90s era swooshes, stylized type and multi-color look and swapped it for a simplified one (OK, 1½) color logo with blah typography.
I’m a fan of the evolution of the mark, the type treatment not so much. With the simplified logo mark they will have a lot of opportunity to play around with the new logo and it should prove to be flexible in a lot more situations, especially the upscale cantina concept. It does, however, have some awkward cropping that simply does not work if you remove the background around the bell.
While there are a lot more positives than negatives on the logo, the typography on it is disappointing all around. It lacks any sense of emotion or design detail. It truly looks like someone just typed out Taco Bell in their favorite font and slapped it under the logo. I understand the need and desire to simplify the logo and the type treatment but I feel they could have done a little bit more here. The history of the Taco Bell logo has always had stylized typography that fit quite well with the overall logo, so the appearance of not even trying is a bit underwhelming. They didn’t need to go super stylized like previous versions, but maybe just try a little bit.
I’m cautiously optimistic that Taco Bell will use this new platform and brand identity to continue moving the needle in a more modern direction for the brand. I’ve seen the images of the new cantina and it looks promising, but I’ll reserve full judgement of the new brand until I see it rolling out into the core of its brand, the restaurants themselves.
Read some additional commentary on the new brand here: