Taco Bell is a US fast-food chain serving predominantly Mexican cuisine, including tacos, nachos, quesadillas, burritos, and more. It has been in business since 1962 and is based in Downey, California. Its founder is the entrepreneur Glen Bell. It is now a very common franchise with about 7,072 locations and is owned by Yum! Brands, Inc. The headquarters of the company is located in Irvine.
Meaning and History
One of the most popular restaurant chains emerged after Glen Bell watched long lines at San Bernardino’s Mitla Cafe serving tacos in hard cakes. At that time, he already had his kiosk called Bell’s Drive-In, and he was just across the street from a Mexican restaurant. Glen began experimenting with recipes, but nothing came of it. This continued until the owners of a nearby establishment let him watch the process of making tacos.
Then in 1951, Glen opened another kiosk, for which he tried several options – from Taco-Tia to El Taco, eventually settling on Taco Bell. An institution under this name first appeared in 1962 in the city of Downey, California. The first franchise outlet was launched in 1964 in Torrance, the same state. And in 1967, there were already a hundred restaurants: the hundredth was opened in Anaheim.
In 1978, a decisive event occurred: PepsiCo (later renamed Yum! Brands) acquired Taco Bell. She played a huge role in the fast-food chain. This corporation owns all the outstanding ideas that contributed to the promotion of the subsidiary. Since then, the brand has been consolidating, merging, forming joint companies, expanding the menu, and much more. And in the fall of 2015, its head office was moved from Downey to Irvine.
Each event impacted the identity, so the original restaurant, like the franchise, had several emblems reflecting the development process. To date, there are six options.
1962 – 1985
The logo, which appeared in 1962, is a bright composition of eight vertical rectangles. They are tilted in different directions, which resembles miniature bells. Each contains a letter from the name of the fast-food chain. They are white, wide, sans-serif uppercase characters against orange, yellow, green, and burgundy backgrounds. In theory, they convey the energy and variety of ingredients found in signature dishes.
1972 – 1985
Several establishments continued to use the old logo with letters in multi-colored rectangles, but in parallel with it, a business version appeared. It is made in a restrained style – both in shape and in color. The graphics are no longer in it – only large block letters in brown with serifs. The emblem with monochrome uppercase lettering has been around for over a decade. Its main feature is in elongated bold lines with spikes at the ends. “A,” “C,” and “L” also have diagonal cuts that form a sharp corner.
1985 – 1994
This is a friendly logo that was used in some points until 2010 inclusive. The designers changed the aggressive writing style by adding streamlined and smoothness to the letters. But they nevertheless supplemented the rounding with sharp protrusions, and for the “T” and “B,” they made original hats with a hook on the left side. The bar at “A” is slightly curved upward, as is the middle stroke at the letter “E.” There is a bell above the brand name. It is yellow with a red line and a green oval. The call is depicted on a red background with two yellow stripes at the bottom.
1992 – 1994
With the advent of the bell, designers began experimenting with it, offering it in one style or another. So there was a version with a red-purple bell on a purple background. It is positioned diagonally to give the logo a dynamic feel as if the bell were ringing while in motion. The red body is outlined with a white stripe and has a dark vertical highlight. The inscription is located in two lines: at the top – “Taco,” at the bottom – “Bell.” The font remains the same.
1994 – 2016
In 1994, an improved version of the emblem of 1985 and 1992 was adopted. It has been in use for 22 years. The author of the updated version is the American design studio Lippincott. She changed a lot: drawing style, color, shape, and font. Therefore, the bell became wide, reddish-pink, with a border along the bottom (on the wide part). The white edging remains as it separates the bell body from the domed purple background. The inscription received wide and squat letters.
2016 – today
To open a new restaurant in Las Vegas, Taco Bell redesigned the logo, unveiling a new version in November 2016. The old font has been removed and replaced with a sans-serif typeface. The title is now written in black. The developers removed yellow and red from the bell, concentrating on several shades of purple: the color is darker at the bottom, lighter at the top. Moreover, the bell itself is white and is formed from negative space due to the contours of the corresponding shape. The developers of this option are Lippincott together with a restaurant chain.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
Early logos used only text. Graphics appeared in 1985. It was directly related to the founders’ surname and, accordingly, to the name of the restaurant chain. The bell has a classic shape – only its location has changed. At first, it was directed downward; later, the designers placed it diagonally to create the effect as if it were ringing. Now its body is slightly wider than before and is drawn from negative space against a purple background.
Since the logo initially contained only text, the letters replaced the graphic images. To do this, the designers drew them by hand, decorating them with thorns, protruding sharp points, and elongated legs. They developed them based on fonts from the Sary Soft, Heebo, Amaranth families. The thorns and protruding touches were necessary to convey the spice of the dishes because Mexican cuisine uses a lot of hot spices. The latest version of the logo uses the Gotham Bold typeface.
The color scheme is varied and bright. It consisted of green, red, yellow, orange, purple, brown, pink, white, and black at various times.