Doritos are corn tortilla chips flavored with cheese, peppers, and other flavorings. Before they became a well-known brand, they originated at the Tex-Mex restaurant in Disneyland, where chefs cut up and fried old tortillas to be sold in a mouthwatering new form. This snack proved very popular because it resembled a Mexican dish. Thus began the mass production of Doritos, first regionally (in 1964) and two years later nationally.
Meaning and History
The first brand of tortilla chips in U.S. history was named with a word derived from the Spanish “doradito. This choice is because the translation of the term is entirely consistent with the appearance of Doritos. “The little golden thing” is the most accurate description of a snack made of tortillas cut into triangles and re-fried.
Over the years, the company has had several rebrandings to stay afloat in times of declining sales. Thus came chips with new flavors and packets with upgraded logos that changed more than a dozen times.
1964 – 1968
When the Doritos brand debuted regionally, the designers used its name for the logo. They made the lettering burgundy and placed each letter in a separate vertical rectangle. The colors alternated: every odd card was orange, and every odd card was yellow. And both letters and rectangles “jumped.” The “r” and “t” were the highest, with the “i” occupying the lowest position. The raised and lowered elements also alternated, creating the illusion of movement.
1968 – 1973
The orange quadrangles became yellow and vice versa. The typeface did not change.
1973 – 1979
In 1973, chocolate began to be used for the lettering, and the hues of the rectangles were almost equalized, approaching the gold palette. The letters lined up in a single row, although slight asymmetry remained. Their individual bases were narrowed vertically, which was reflected accordingly in the typeface. Under the “s” appeared the small and barely noticeable word “BRAND.”
1979 – 1985
The designers increased the angle of the background rectangles so that they no longer line up with the letters. The letter-spacing had to be reduced in order to fit the lettering on the base. The orange had a red tint, and all colors were dull.
1985 – 1994
The trademark name was enlarged and repainted in black with a thin white outline. The word “BRAND” disappeared. The dot above the “i” was replaced by a triangle, which replicated the shape of the snacks. The colors of the base became very expressive: bright yellow was used instead of gold, and deep red instead of faded orange-red. The number of quadrangles was reduced to five, and each one had a black accent line at the bottom.
1994 – 1999
In 1994 the designers again added the word “BRAND” under the “s,” written in small print. The outlines around the letters became yellow. Behind the “D” and “o” appeared a triangle of the same color. It curved slightly, copying the shape of Doritos chips. Above it was a red triangular frame with jagged edges. From it stretched chaotic stripes underlining the name of the product.
1999 – 2000
After some rework, the logo was inside a big black rectangle with “bitten off” edges. The lettering became white and slanted, with the serifs shortened. Instead of the word “BRAND” was the phrase “CORN CHIPS,” which attracted attention with its bright yellow color.
2000 – 2005
A black triangle replaced the uneven base. It was framed by three stripes: dark blue, white, and black. Because of their different thickness, they reinforced the asymmetry created by the slant of the triangle.
2005 – 2013
In the mid-2000s, Doritos with an unusual logo appeared on the shelves in U.S. stores. It contained the brand name, written in a streamlined, sans serif font, and a fiery line in the shape of a cardiogram. The word was white and gray, with a red outline adorning the right side of each letter. All elements cast fuzzy black shadows with a gradient.
2013 – today
After another rebranding, the iconic triangle was back. Its red-orange frame now pierces the two letters “o,” making the image appear three-dimensional. The inside of the triangle is black, as is the jagged outline with needle-like protrusions. The letters are entirely white but have a dark border of red and black stripes. This version is used as the basic version.
In 2019, marketers decided to appeal to Doritos to a special category of customers – Generation Z teens, who mostly despise brands. A logo without the name of the chips was designed especially for them. It contained the black inscription “LOGO GOES HERE,” divided into three lines and slanted to the left. It was across a red triangle with an empty middle. The brand owners expected that customers would recognize the chips just by the color of the packages and the slanted triangle.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
Experience has shown that consumers can identify the Doritos logo even if there is no brand name. The traditional triangular shape is associated with snacks that are cut into small slices. And the edges of the base are jagged, hinting at the bright and unforgettable taste of tortilla chips.
At the beginning of Doritos’ history, different versions of serif fonts were used. But more recently, the letters have a streamlined, sans serif shape. The typography is based on individual glyphs. The strokes are bold and about the same thickness. A triangle replaces the dot over the “i,” and the top of the “t” is cut off to follow its shape.
The current logo features a combination of contrasting colors. The white lettering is combined with a black outline complemented by thin red lines. The frame of the background triangle is painted in several shades of yellow and orange, which form a fiery gradient. The bright colors symbolize pepper and corn, the main ingredients of the first Doritos.