The Doritos emblem has undergone substantial transformations, yet the brand itself has remained firmly entrenched in the hearts of Americans, emerging as an irresistible treat on game day and well beyond.
Unquestionably, Doritos’ potent brand allure stems from a masterful marketing strategy that cleverly taps into enduring favorites of the world, including cinematic experiences and revered personalities.
Since its inception, these targeted endeavors have been pivotal in propelling the brand to success, with a visually arresting representation playing a key component. However, one may ponder: how did the logo come into the picture, and how has it evolved over time? What values and principles does the company embody, and how does its visual identity, particularly the logo, resonate with these distinctive attributes?
Let’s take a look at this well-known snack brand and how it got started, including the several versions of the logo that it has used throughout the years.
The golden-colored chip, beloved among food brands, is presently owned by Frito-Lay, a subsidiary of PepsiCo. The name Doritos, which comes from the Spanish word “doradito, means little golden thing, and the snack officially launched in 1964 with nationwide sales beginning in 1966.
Wondering who’s responsible for the iconic Doritos invention? That would be Casa De Fritos who decided to create Doritos when theme parks were just starting to exist. During this time, the restaurant within the park started what would become a tasty treat for many from its humble beginning as merely plain, simple tortilla chips.
The Mexican restaurant that operated in Disneyland quickly became popular after opening in the theme park, and everyone, from children to adults, enjoyed the Mexican dishes offered. Alex Foods was what supplied the restaurant with Mexican food products, and these included the tortillas that would become so famous. Although they went fast with the vast number of customers, the restaurant would often have too many to sell quickly enough.
In a twist of fate, rather than discarding the lackluster tortillas that frequently accumulated at the restaurant, an enterprising salesperson approached a diligent chef and proposed a tantalizing alternative: why not transform those stale tortillas into a delectable treat by frying them up?
Instead of storing a bunch of tortillas that would go to waste, the restaurant could offer chips. Soon, customers were regularly enjoying the chips at the restaurant, which was now merged with Frito Lay. The company wasn’t aware that Casa de Fritos’ customers were enjoying the clever treat.
During a fortuitous visit by the astute marketing vice president, Arch West, to the restaurant, a delightful revelation unfolded before his eyes. Witnessing the sheer delight of patrons indulging in the makeshift chips, he swiftly realized that the seemingly expendable tortillas and snacks held boundless potential. Overwhelmed with joy at this newfound offering, he wasted no time and promptly forged a partnership with Alex Foods, entrusting them with the task of producing these savory delights on a grand scale.
With the prospects of immense profitability looming on the horizon, this uncomplicated yet scrumptious culinary creation emerged as an extraordinary snack. Henceforth, Alex Foods was bestowed with the responsibility of manufacturing these chips for nationwide sales and distribution, subsequently paving the road Frito Lay to take the reins and produce Doritos in their sprawling production facilities.
Back when the chips were first “invented,” they didn’t have the strong flavors they do now. They were simple fried tortillas, likely with a bit of salt. In a quest to amplify the irresistible allure of Doritos and captivate an even broader audience, the company embarked on a quest to infuse its chips with an exotic burst of flavors.
They used a Mexican seasoning that would ensure every chip was bursting with flavor. It wasn’t until the year 1974, however, that the beloved nacho cheese flavor, synonymous with the brand’s identity, made its glorious debut on the Doritos scene, forever etching it in all the hearts and palates of aficionados.
Throughout the years there have been hundreds of flavors of the chips. Currently, you have quite the selection when you’re pursuing Doritos chips on store shelves. You can try flavors like the classic nacho cheese, cool ranch, taco, pizza, Flaming Hot, BBQ, salsa verde, and even Tapatio.
To go with the company’s unique history, they have a unique lineup of logos. Let’s take a look.
Doritos Logo Over Time
The Doritos logo changes were a conscious effort by the owners to ensure the Doritos brand stayed current and “with” the times.
Despite the alterations, the food chain’s image has remained pretty consistent over the years. From the 1964 logo to the one they use now, you’ll find smaller updates to a trademark that’s always paid special attention to the name.
During its early years, the most significant brand redesign took place. Many of the logos throughout Doritos’ history are grouped into square-focused designs and the triangular icons that followed and highlighted the shape of the actual chip.
While it wasn’t until the 1980s that the iconic triangular shape adorned the Doritos logo, it was during the dynamic 1990s that a significant metamorphosis took place, leaving an enduring imprint on the brand’s visual representation. The driving force behind this monumental rebranding initiative was the aspiration to emphasize the differentiating element that distinguished Doritos’ tortilla chips: their unique and unmistakable triangular structure.
As attested by the company, this reimagining of the logo served as a powerful testament to the innovative nature of Doritos’ culinary creations. By embracing the unique triangle shape, the refreshed logo encapsulated the brand’s signature tortilla chips, effectively communicating their exceptional appeal and setting them apart from the competition.
Hornall Anderson Design Works LLC, now called Sid Lee, created the latest logo for the global market, and the firm worked together with Frito-Lay, to create the icon most people recognize.
The creative design firm is commonly known for its work in branding, advertising, website development, and public relations and has offices in Toronto, Los Angeles, New York, and Paris.
Let’s look at the details.
The First Logo (1964-1973)
When the brand was first created, the first logo made its appearance. The logo was launched in 1964 and was a strong and bold part of the brand. This design used playful colors and artistic shapes to create a fun and impactful design. The central focal point of the logo was formed by a captivating arrangement of four yellow rectangles and three red rectangles, artfully scattered in an alternating pattern along a central line.
With this new change, the company name was now the prominent aspect of the design and truly stood out. Characterized by bold curved lines and prominent serifs, the typography exuded a sense of whimsy and character, perfectly complementing the brand’s playful spirit. Collectively, these elements coalesced to create a logo that embodied the brand’s energetic and captivating presence during its formative years.
Changing Colors from 1973 to 1979
In 1973 the company decided it was time for another change, and this time the logo got a remarkable update. The new design embraced a vibrant color palette, combining bright yellow and orange tones, while the wordmark took on a striking brown hue. The background of the design was also artistic, tying together unique colors and shapes to create an eye-enticing design that was cohesive and playful.
This design used rectangles for each letter to create an artistic take on what would otherwise be a basic design. The lettering used a bold font that was simple and yet made a bold statement. This thoughtful typography choice added a nice touch to the visual impact of the logo, capturing attention and leaving a lasting impression. The harmonious combination of colors, rectangles, and typography within the logo reflected the brand’s evolution, embracing a bolder and more vibrant aesthetic in the 1970s. Blow the main section was the word “brand” in all caps.
The Logo from 1979 to 1985
In the 1979 redesign, notable changes were introduced to the Doritos logo. The rectangular elements at the start and end of the logo underwent a subtle rotation, creating an angled effect. Simultaneously, the lettering received a bolder treatment, enhancing its visual impact. The color palette also experienced a shift, with the introduction of a darker yellow tone and the replacement of orange with a lighter cream shade. These modifications revitalized the logo, infusing it with a renewed sense of dynamism while incorporating a refined color scheme. As for the brown, this logo picked a calmer, chocolatey tone. The all-caps word “brand” moved up into the rectangular design and now the wordmark sat in front of the rectangles instead of showing a letter for each one. The font also changed slightly and was now a trimmed-down version of the bold serif typeface.
The Triangle Logo of 1985 to 1994
Another change was made to the logo and this time the company opted to include a new shape into the logo. Initially, it served as a small detail crowning the letter “i” and replacing the conventional dot. The rectangles within the logo underwent a transformation as well. While the serif font and letter placement atop the rectangles remained, the shapes themselves adopted a vibrant combination of bright yellow and red, accentuated by touches of black. Now the wordmark was also shown in a bold black while it had a more subtle white outline. Notably, the word “brand” was also removed, streamlining the logo’s composition and placing greater emphasis on the visual elements. These changes breathed new life into the logo, infusing it with a bold and contemporary aesthetic.
1994 to 1999’s Logo
The logo got yet another redesign in the year 1994 and this one was significant for the brand. The iconic triangular image became the backdrop for the black serif text, featuring a yellow shadow. The text sat against a red and yellow emblem resembling a scribble, with a solid yellow triangle in the background and a red scribbled triangle extending into a jagged line underneath. This update injected energy and spontaneity into the logo, reflecting the brand’s vibrant spirit. The word brand was back but much smaller and contained under the “s.” The serif font was also updated to a simpler version with more straightforward curves and lines.
1999 to 2000- A Short-Lived Logo
The logo changed again and this time the most significant chage was to the color palette. A transformative shift occurred as the entire image was repositioned with a background of black, while the wordmark transitioned to a striking white hue. This addition further enriched the logo’s composition, offering additional information and visual appeal. All these changes heralded a new chapter in the logo’s evolution, amplifying its impact and imbuing it with a fresh sense of allure. The red scribbled triangle remained but the tail became slightly shorter. The shadow behind the main wordmark also changed to a majority red with black appearing just over the yellow triangle. The font also changed significantly and was now a much thicker, simplified serif.
The Logo from 2000 to 2006
In this logo, the background received a new style on the front of the design.
The style reflected the scribbled nature of the first triangle, which remained and saw the tail extended again. Included with the logo evolution, notable changes were made, including the omission of the tagline and a refinement of the wordmark.
The font also changed slightly and the bottom of the letters took on a flatter appearance like they were standing on a flat surface.
An Overlapping Logo
In the year 2004, a distinct iteration of the Doritos logo emerged, exclusively tailored for North American audiences. This design had the wordmark as the most significant aspect and it stood out amongst the others. Notably, the logo showcased an interplay of shadows, with a striking red shadow with a larger black shadow, enveloping the letters and serving as a backdrop of sorts.
Moreover, the accompanying icon underwent a significant transformation, adopting a stylized emblem that incorporated a triangular-like shape composed of fiery-colored lines. While the iconic scribble style persisted, the ends of the emblem underwent a subtle yet impactful update. Extending elongated lines to the left and right of the design, a dynamic and rhythmic visual effect akin to a heartbeat-like pulse was created, injecting an added sense of vitality and vibrancy to the logo.
2007 to 2013- Another Version
The next change included modernizing the logo and adding some thicker touches to the lines.
The triangle, which was now a bold blue filled in with black and featuring shadows to make it look three-dimensional, got much cleaner edges while still resembling the original scribble.
The wordmark changed to an italicized sans-serif typeface with a thick black outline and a faint red shadow.
The Logo Used Today (2013 – Present)
The inception of the contemporary Doritos logo was in 2013, unveiling a visually striking embodiment that continues to grace our presence today. Comprising a pristine white sans-serif wordmark, meticulously fashioned in a hyper-stylized font, the logo exudes an aura of artistic finesse. It’s enclosed in a triangular frame in a gradient of orange, red, and yellow with a black outline and center, that looks like a flame. The triangle features sharp angles and is shown as slicing through the wordmark, creating little points in the letters where it intersects with them. You’ll also notice that the triangle looks a bit like lightning striking through the letters, which are a bit three-dimensional thanks to a small ridge created within them.
Doritos Logo Key Elements
A few things have remained since the logo’s creation while many other things have changed.
The most significant parts of the current logo, which have persisted since its introduction, are detailed below.
1. The Triangle
The new logo being has a special focus on the red triangle. Although the brand has gone through various changes to get to the logo we see today, the triangle has steadily stayed since it first emerged. The brand has been using it increasingly to showcase and highlight its triangle-shaped snack.
From simply replacing the dot for the “i” in “Doritos,” which is still done, the triangle isn’t simply the background and heart of the overall design.
The triangle has become a beloved element of the design that has earned its place associated with Doritos. The triangle has become known as one with the brand and you don’t hear about Doritos without thinking about the familiar shape.
2. Colors Used
As the logo has gone through many transformations in its time, it’s also gone through many different colors used. From its very inception, Doritos has displayed an unwavering commitment to exploring new frontiers in image and coloring.
Presently, the Doritos logo is a captivating fusion of black, red, white, and a mesmerizing gradient reminiscent of flickering flames, seamlessly transitioning from fiery red to vibrant orange, and finally culminating in radiant yellow and pristine white. These meticulously chosen hues serve as a testament to the brand’s heritage, paying homage to the original spicy nacho chip, while radiating an aura of audacity and contemporary flair.
3. The Font
Just as the Doritos color palette has undergone transformations, the typography employed in the company’s logo designs has also experienced its fair share of evolution.
Over time, the triangular dot resting gracefully above the letter “i’ has become known as an indispensable element within the wordmark. However, its journey has witnessed a shift from a traditional serif font to a strikingly bold and meticulously stylized typeface, replete with crisp edges and distinctive angles.
Notably, the Doritos logo font is an exquisite masterpiece, crafted with utmost care and tailored to perfection, showcasing its unique identity through the captivating presence of the iconic triangle that elegantly slashes through it.
The logo for Doritos has changed quite a bit over the years, but since the triangle’s introduction, it has played a huge part in their visual identity.
Because it calls for the unique shape of the chip itself, it’s unlikely to change any time soon. What’s more, with “bold” flavor menus around, the loud, colorful nature of the logo is also unlikely to change.
As modern design trends change, it’ll be interesting to see what the brand comes up with next. But one thing is for sure, the design probably won’t be boring or entirely stripped down. After all, these spicy snacks need to showcase that they’re a perfect fit “For the Bold.”