Subway is one of America’s best-known sandwich restaurants. It has a relatively simple menu of sandwiches, all custom-assembled in front of customers. It has set the standard for how sub chains operate in the United States, taking the basic operations of the neighborhood deli and adapting them for chain stores. One thing that has always stood out about Subway is its logo. Though simple, it is very easy to identify. The purpose of this article is to take a look at the Subway logo desing elements and its history and determine how it’s aided in the company’s rise to prominence.
Subway Logo Design Elements
The current Subway logo is incredibly simple, but in that simplicity lies a fantastic marketing strategy. By leaving nothing to the casual observer but the name, Subway has been able to indelibly link a pair of major colors and a pair of arrows in the public eye.
The major shape of the logo is nothing more than the words SUBWAY with an arrow on the S and the Y. These arrows represent movement and speed, both elements that are meant to portray Subway as the restaurant of active patrons. Though never overt, the shape helps to subconsciously link the company with healthy activity.
The font and color are two consistent elements throughout the year. The simple, blocky letters make it very easy to identify as Subway from the road or mall walkway, helping to draw in customers. The colors, yellow and green, are indicative of health foods – something that works well with Subway’s major goal of positioning itself as a leader in the world of healthy eating.
Changes and Evolution
The initial shape of the Pete’s Subway logo has little in common with the modern logo, save for the arrows on the word Subway. By 1968, though, the shape mostly solidifies with the word SUBWAY and the arrows as the major element. These elements consistently helped remind the public that Subway was a restaurant for those who were active and on the move, helping to reinforce how different it was from traditional fast food. The only major shape change since 1968 has been the dropping of the oval background, leaving the word SUBWAY alone in the logo.
Subway initially used a dark yellow font, which was easily seen on its first storefront. By the time its second logo rolled around, the yellow would be brightened and paired with white and placed on a green background – all colors that represented health. These three colors would remain as the years went by, first by moving green to an outline and then to the secondary color of the logo. This kept Subway’s commitment to freshness and healthy ingredients in the public eye.
The initial Subway logo featured a common 1960s font, featuring not only the Subway name but rather the full name of the restaurant – Pete’s Subway. In 1968, the logo’s font changed slightly, dropping ‘Pete’s’ but keeping the arrows on the letters. By 1982, the company dropped the background and italicized the font. By 2016, the italicization was dropped and simplified to a look reminiscent of the 1968 logo without the green background.
Subway’s logo is, for the most part, a relic of the 1960s. The initial logo is similar to what you’ll still see in neighborhood delis, though the modern logo has changed enough that it’s more in line with clean-eating chain restaurants. In fact, the latest logo alteration is definitely an attempt to follow in the footsteps of other businesses that have radically simplified their logos in the latter half of the 21st Century.
Subway’s logo has, however, been copied by many other similar businesses. The old text-on-oval logo is still standard in the sub chain business, with companies like Lenny’s and Jersey Mike’s using variations on the same theme.
- Subway is a shortened form of the company’s original name, Pete’s Super Submarines.
- Subway serves 7.6 million sandwiches per day
- Subway is the world’s largest fast food company
- Subway did not originally serve lettuce with its sandwiches, but now uses about sixteen acres of lettuce per year
- Subway uses more cookie dough per year than any other restaurant
- There are approximately 38 million different sandwich combinations at Subway
- Subway’s founder, Fred DeLuca, was 17 years old when he founded the company with a thousand dollar loan from a family friend.
The Subway logo is simple but effective. It has evolved significantly since its earliest days, but the evolution still clearly points back ot its origins. If nothing else, the logo proves that simpilcity is sometimes the best way to establish a brand. With only its name, Subway has managed to become the go-to for deli-style sub sandwiches in the United States.