On a recent road trip, I got to thinking about the distinctive shape of some signs and how they easily tell the observer, from miles away, what is in store at the next offramp. Take this picture for instance:
Here we see three signs. A distinctive star shape on the left, then a square, then some curious arches in the distance. What could these be? The first and third, I would say, are pretty obvious. Carl’s Jr. and sister chain Hardee’s have a signature star, sometimes shown at a slight angle, but nevertheless distinctive. McDonald’s is the master of iconic signage. Not much to say about the “golden arches” except that you can spot them from so far away that every other chain can only hope people will get off looking for McDonald’s and then change their minds at the last minute.
That leaves the one in the middle. Poor old Burger King. Boring boxy square signs, re-purposed from the old square logo to the new round logo without changing the sign’s shape, but newer round signs aren’t any better. What does a circle say about Burger King? Nothing. Why can’t their signs be crown-shaped? Who else has that? If I was miles away and saw a star, a crown and some arches in the distance, Burger King might enter the discussion with my passengers about where to stop for lunch. As it stands, that square/circle could be anything. Even a gas station.