Thinking outside the box when it comes to recreating a brand identity is generally a good idea; jumping completely outside the “jack-in-the-box,” especially when it comes to an iconic brand, may not be so strategic or beneficial. That is exactly what happened shortly before the new year, when the west coast-based fast-food franchise Jack in the Box revealed its new identity. With little ties to the original, it seems this brand may be veering too far from the equity they’ve built over the past 58 years.
The new logo is quite a departure from the old. It features a teetering box with bubbly typography in which letterforms tend to ooze into one another. The new logo contains few elements from the old, only referencing the red box. New elements such as the scripty “Jack” and the detached, futuristic “in the box” clearly take the brand in a new direction. Some argue that the swoosh descended of the “k” resembles a smile…like a clown, perhaps? Or maybe it is meant to resemble a more literal silhouette of the well-known “Jack,” the spherical-head with pointy hat? The a-symmetrical balance of the new logo is also unsettling; I can’t get past the visual awkwardness created by the two-point perspective of the box and flatness of the logotype, along with the disjointed “in the box” tacked on at the bottom. While the dimensional box is an interesting take on the original flat shape, it bears an undeniable resemblance to the lesser-known burger joint, White Castle. Had the brand name not been split up, with “in the box” outside the box, I feel that much of the awkwardness of the new mark could have been resolved.
Though the new mark itself doesn’t satisfy my visual taste buds, I do like its integration into various applications, including new packaging patterns. The icons used to signify the cow, chicken and fish are a nice, modern touch, and clearly reference the type of meat that each package contains. The bold, saturated colors of the icons are also very appropriate and fitting for fast-food. The fact that the icons themselves have no dimension in relation to the box shapes behind them doesn’t really bother me; the boxes actually read better as abstracted objects rather than more literal ones.
While I appreciate Jack-in-the-Box’s recognition of brand revitalization, and their attempt to revamp their identity and implement new graphic elements, it seems a simple facelift could have sufficed without overhauling the logo completely. Some have attributed this re-brand to be more in line with that of a toy company or entertainment brand—and I tend to agree; it seems a bit too retro to become a timeless icon for the brand. Regardless of the new logo, nothing will ever be able to change my love for their deep-fried egg rolls and thick, Oreo shakes.
By: Kelly Campbell, Designer