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14th Sep 2017

So this is why the McDonald’s sign is red and yellow

Those arches can be seen from miles away.

Jade Hayden

mcdonald's sign

Ever wondered why the beloved McDonald’s sign is red and yellow?

Us neither, we just blindly accepted it. Never even crossed our minds.

But now that we have an actual reason behind the colour of those arches and that background, it turns out that the reasoning is actually fairly interesting.

And not at all accidental.

mcdonald's sign

Apparently, McDonald’s branding is so because they know they’ll be able to entice their target market using those exact colours.

According to colour psychology expert Karen Haller, red and yellow creates a mood that plays into the market’s desire to eat, be happy, and do it all in quick succession.

“Looking at the positive psychology qualities of red & yellow in relation to the fast food industry, red triggers stimulation, appetite, hunger, it attracts attention.  Yellow triggers the feelings of happiness and friendliness.

When you combine red and yellow it’s about speed, quickness.  In, eat and out again.”

Haller also references the fact that yellow is the most visible colour in daylight, which is why the McDonald’s arches can be seen from miles away.

But they aren’t the only fast food giant to play into the market’s desires this way.

The likes of Burger King, Supermacs, and KFC all use similar colours in the branding too, meaning that it’s almost impossible to look at their red logos and not immediately think of food. And speed.

But what about the way certain fast food chains are starting to rebrand themselves?

mcdonald's sign

You might have noticed over the past few years that some McDonald’s restaurants have turned their signs to a deep green instead of red.

Haller has, and according to her, this is a clever move by the company to appear more environmentally friendly.

“You can relax, get comfortable, linger over a coffee (almost dare I say, a bit like Starbucks).

It would be interesting to know if this has attracted a new ‘green’ customer base, one that is more environmentally aware…?”

We can hope so… but probably not.