“‘Better Ingredients, Better Pizza’ is something that is core to this brand, but how does that layer up to a bigger ambition around being always hungry to be better as a company, and what are the building blocks of that?” Max Wetzel, chief commercial officer, said in an interview. “What we’ve heard back from customers is that Papa Johns is a premium brand with the context of our competition, but it’s a brand that really hasn’t evolved that much from a logo standpoint, or from a color palette. And the environment has really changed a lot since that last time we touched our logo. So consumers may have felt it's a little old, maybe a little stale, and there was an opportunity to evolve it.”
Papa Johns engaged the San Francisco design firm Su Mathews Hale Design to reinterpret its logo with a goal of being more flexible and to show up better in digital activations, from which the majority of the chain’s orders originate. The logo maintains is signature arch but drops the apostrophe, and be rendered vertically as well as horizontally. The flatter, simpler look is similar to how other brands have attempted to make logos more digital-friendly, including Nissan, BMW and Volkswagen.
Those “better ingredients” get an emphasis through a new color palette inspired by them—the dominant red and green represent tomato and basil, joined by off-white representing dough, light purple (for garlic) and a yellow-green inspired by pepperoni, providing the brand “bold pops and playful accents,” Wetzel said.
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A custom font, created by the London agency Forpeople in partnership with Colophon Foundry, helps to distinguish how the brand delivers its message. The new type, Wetzel said, was inspired by the “stretchiness” of its pizza dough. The chain will also introduce new illustrations to help with wayfinding in restaurants and online.