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IHOP used the “I” prefix in its name before it became fashionable. She started doing this in 1973 when her full name, International House of Pancakes, was shortened to four letters. And the first restaurant of the chain opened even earlier – in 1958. There they served traditional breakfasts in the form of omelets, toasts, waffles, pancakes. Gradually, the number of catering outlets increased, and lunches and dinners were added to the menu. Now the brand and all establishments are owned by the Dine Brands Global corporation.

Meaning and History

IHOP Logo History
Evolution of the IHOP Logo

In the history of the IHOP company, there have been several major redesigns related to the renewal of the structure. The most important of these occurred in 1973: the International House of Pancakes chain shortened its name to an abbreviation, and at the same time, expanded the list of dishes. But trademark logos changed much more often and were not always accompanied by global events.

As far as we know, the last symbol appeared in 2015, although restaurant owners announced another image change in 2018. They said they would flip the last p to make a b. As it turned out later, this was a clever marketing trick to promote the hamburger line. The brand has retained its old identity and continues to use the familiar logo. Many fans were delighted with this news because the “IHob” caption reminded them of the o.b. tampon emblem. And in its current version, the IHOP brand name is associated only with Citibank signs, which also have a red arc.

1958 – 1982

International House of Pancakes Logo 1958-1982

When International House of Pancakes opened its first restaurant, its logo looked very welcoming. It was styled as a chalet-style sign. On the left was a white plaque with the name of the brand. The word “THE” was in bold flattened serif, for “International” it was thin italic, for “HOUSE” and “PANCAKES” it was bold serif, and the preposition “of” was written in oblique sans serif letters. The combination of different typefaces and registers made the inscription original. The text was placed in a red curly frame. To the left of the plaque, the artists depicted a brown fence on top – a decorative lantern on a pole. These road signs were popular in the United States in the 1970s.

1982 – 1992

International House of Pancakes Logo 1982-1992

In 1982, only one inscription plate remained from the complex multi-component logo. The article “THE” disappeared, but the word “RESTAURANT” was added at the end. The designers slightly changed the typography: for “of,” they chose a new italic sans serif, for “PANCAKES” – a thin serif typeface, and for the rest of the text – a stylized typeface with high contrast and forked edges. The red curly frame has turned into a rectangle with rounded corners.

1992 – 1994

International House of Pancakes Logo 1992-1994

After the redesign, the phrase “INTERNATIONAL HOUSE OF PANCAKES” began to use a bold, bubble-like typeface. The word “RESTAURANT” was written grotesquely and moved down into a red arched figure. This changed all of the text to white and the base to a large blue rectangle.

1994 – 2015

IHOP Logo 1994-2015

The restaurant chain owners decided it was time to popularize the brand’s abbreviated name, IHOP. It has existed since 1973 but has never been featured on a logo before. As a result of a small reshuffle, the phrase “INTERNATIONAL HOUSE OF PANCAKES” disappeared, giving way to an abbreviation. Moreover, the last letter, “P,” looked italic because its vertical stroke was below the line level. The blue base and red sign with the word “RESTAURANT” have not changed.

2015 – present

IHOP Logo 2015-present

The iconic IHOP symbol was used for over two decades until company executives noticed that it looked like a sad emoji. They solved this problem very simply by turning the red arch into a smile. At the same time, the round parts of the letters “O” and “p” began to depict the eyes, and the vertical stroke between them assumed the function of the nose.

The designers at Studio Tilt had to remove the word “RESTAURANT” not to spoil the charm of the smile. And at the same time, they removed the background rectangle so that now the restaurant chain logo looks like a light blue “IHOP” inscription with a red arc that “hugs” the last two letters. The new design was first tested in 28 establishments before being extended to all foodservice outlets. To grab the attention of potential customers, marketers have launched themed Summer of Smiles events.

Font and Colors of the Emblem

IHOP Emblem

Having got rid of the blue rectangular frame and turned the red arch upside down, IHOP decided to erase any negative associations. Her trademark is a fun emoji that conveys the joy of a delicious breakfast and a friendly atmosphere. This is an attempt to please a younger audience.

The restaurant chain has simplified its symbol by proving it is ready for the age of social media. The minimalistic lettering is adapted for digital use because there is not a single unnecessary detail in it. This is the result of the work of Studio Tilt specialists, who had to turn the logo into the face of the brand, make it understandable and human. On the other hand, independent experts criticized the emblem for its unnaturalness. A smile expresses happiness, but when performed by IHOP, anthropomorphization looks a little creepy – like a madly smiling clown with round eyes.

Using heavy, rounded typography, the designers made the letters look like breakfast pancakes. At the same time, “O” and “p” resemble eyes and nose, which was achieved by converting “p” to lower case while maintaining a large value.

IHOP Symbol

The familiar IHOP red and blue palette has not changed since 1992, except for the disappearance of white in 2015. This is the core of the brand’s identity, as many know the chain for its gabled blue roofs. A red smile balances out the lettering but does not dominate because it is thinner than the strokes of the letters.