Dairy Queen has been in business since 1940. Its first product was soft-serve ice cream, followed by Blizzard milkshakes and creamy desserts with cookies, cotton candy, pumpkin pie, candy, cakes, and other fillings. A low-calorie alternative was frozen yogurt. DQ also serves malt and soft drinks, burgers, fries, toast, chicken, and other dishes to complement the large assortment of sweets.
Meaning and History
The McCullough family came up with the recipe for soft-serve ice cream back in 1938. John Fremont, along with his son Alex, “tested” the new product at a friend’s store. The result of the experiment was promising: in just one day, customers took away more than 1,500 servings. So the budding entrepreneurs had to develop a special freezer to maintain an ideal temperature regime. After that, they opened their own business, which quickly grew into a network of franchises.
Every American in the second half of the 1950s knew about Dairy Queen soft-serve ice cream. But that wasn’t enough for the brand owners, and they added hot food to the menu, including hamburgers and hot dogs. In the late 1990s, Berkshire Hathaway bought out DQ and continued to develop the successful concept. Fast-food restaurants became famous as places to find tasty treats for families. And many of the branches now look the same as they did in the 1950s: the chain executives purposely kept the old design to create a nostalgic mood. The only thing that has changed is the logos, which have had a common structure since 1958.
Signs have long used symbols in the form of a red ellipse with sharpened edges. Previously, they were complemented by images of ice cream cones and a friendly Eskimo girl. But in modern times, Dairy Queen’s identity is more unified: the main brand sign is the letters “DQ” inside a red figure with two bands of orange and blue.
1940 – 1960
The debut logo was completely different from today’s logo. It contained the black lettering “DAIRY QUEEN” in a square font with partially rounded corners. The letters had no serifs, and the only decorative element was the thin gray lines that ran through the center of each stroke. This sign adorned the sign for the first DQ restaurant in 1940. It was most often elevated above the roofs of buildings and combined with additional elements such as a soft-serve ice cream cone or an Eskimo in national dress.
1960 – 2007
In 1958, the fast-food chain had a new graphic symbol. That’s when the foundation for the current Dairy Queen style was laid. From the previous logo, the brand’s full name remained, but its design changed dramatically. The lettering became white, and the font acquired a different shape – also geometric, but with high-contrast glyphs and soft curves. All but the first letters were lowercase.
The background for the text was a red drop-shaped ellipse with two pointed edges. At first, the base was asymmetrical: the right corner seemed more elongated than the left. In the 1970s, the two parts flattened out. This sign, too, was complemented by an image of an ice cream cone when it was used as a sign on buildings. Although the font remains on some cutlery, it is no longer relevant, and the logo is still found in retro-designed restaurants, including Brazier stores.
2001 – 2007
In 2001, the Dairy Queen chain modernized its logo to keep up with the times. Before that, it was sometimes shortened to DQ, but in 2001, the acronym gained the status of the official brand name. This innovation is reflected in the logo. After a small redesign, the inscription “Dairy Queen” was removed. The capital letters “D” and “Q” took their place, which remained white and preserved their unusual font – a geometric grotesque. But the ellipse-shaped base changed: it became dark pink. It did not go further than experiments with color because the badge of the classic shape ensured the recognizability of the brand.
2007 – today
In 2007, the designers made the graphic symbol symmetrical and repainted it in a rich red hue to make it look like lips. The font was transformed: the acronym now uses italic letters with serifs (the “D”). There is also a wordmark with a red “Dairy Queen” inscription. It adorned the branded spoons and modern branches of the restaurant chain.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
Two-color lines have been added to the top and bottom of the logo to represent the diversity of the menu. The blue line represents all cold foods, including soft-serve ice cream, and the orange line represents burgers, toast, and other hot foods. Before their inception, the Dairy Queen emblem was less symbolic. All of the elements were used to make the brand recognizable, so they hardly ever changed.
The designers developed a custom set of glyphs for DQ, so it’s unparalleled. But the overall style, slant, serifs, and high contrast of the letters are reminiscent of Commercial Type’s Algebra ExtraBold.
The main color of the logo is red. It goes in combination with white, orange and blue. The first is used for contrast, while the second and third are used to symbolize hot and cold dishes.