Yoshinoya logo and identity redesign by Chermayeff & Geismar& Haviv
Rather than simplifying the existing logo, which contained many elements that were irrelevant or incomprehensible to American audiences, we focused on the distinctive lettering style of the name, extracted the recognizable Y, and set it in a bowl shape. This revised visual identity now works effectively in all applications, from signs to app icons. The new lettermark, in the Yoshinoya Orange, will be adopted in both the US and Japanese markets—alongside the original seal that will continue to represent the long tradition of the brand.
The CGH logo and identity is a classic case of designing without having a global perspective. In the quest to simplify and remove “…many elements that were irrelevant or incomprehensible to American audiences..” and create an app friendly logo, CGH has stripped away the one nuance that makes the original logo a much better choice.
Below is the original logo, can you see what I mean?
The meaning behind the original logo:
“The Logo of Yoshinoya is a “bull horn” was invented by Yoshinoya’s founder Eikichi Matsuda.The idea of the “bull horn” logo derived from the initial letter of Yoshinoya’s English name “Y”, while the rope surrounding the horn represents the “Yokozuna” ranking (winner) in Japanese sumo-wrestling, also representing the “Yokozuna” quality of our food. The surrounding rope is made up of 27 rice grains and the whole logo means Yoshinoya sells the “best beef bowls” – wikipedia
The original logo is a better choice because of the shape of the bowl. Anyone who has spent time in Japan knows that the Japanese bowl aesthetic has bowls that are raised off the table. This lift makes picking up the bowl easier when eating. Also I feel that the lip of the original bowl shape, better represents bull horns.
Though the original logo was too nuanced and the cultural references were lost to western markets, there were a lot of elements to play with and the outcome was underwhelming.
Below is what CGH has done with the original seal.
The lowering of the crossbar in the ‘H’ and adding more kerning were good choices but why didn’t they go the Starbucks route and remove the orange circle from the seal? The ‘Y’ shape is easy to see and so is that steaming bowl of rice in the center.
With my redesign, you have a bowl + beef, with the shape of the cow’s horns mimicking the shape of the bowl and also forming a ‘Y’ shape. I liked the steam rising over the bowl in the original seal and had some fun using “Yoshinoya” forming a heaping bowl of rice.
I wanted to try and design a more simplified bowl and”beef-ier” cow shape. What do you think of this new update? Any things you’d change? How about you try and redesign the logo. Post in the comments below.