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Subway Redesigns its Logo for a New Age

Kevin Whipps March 31, 2021 · 1 min read

If you drew a one-mile radius around my house located in suburbia, you’d trap four Subway restaurants inside like they were Pokemon. Fact is, Subway restaurants are everywhere, even the Pentagon, so it’s clear that they’re popular. And now, they have a new logo.
As recounted in detail over at Logo Design Love, the brand has a history that goes back to 1965, and a tiny location in Bridgeport, Connecticut. This one:
Original Subway restaurant
The logo first appeared shortly thereafter on what would be their third location:
first version subway logo
And if you really want some 1970’s goodness, you’ve got to check out one of their commercials from 1977:

Since then, they’ve shifted away from all that, and you probably know this logo best:
Subway logo
And now, they have a new logo in the form of a monogram and a wordmark. Check out their introductory video for the logo and the two marks themselves now.

2016 Subway logo wordmark
2016 Subway logo monogram
So what do you think? Is the redesign a good look or should they stick with the old school?

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About the Author
Kevin Whipps

Hi! My name is Kevin Whipps, and I'm a writer and editor based in Phoenix, Arizona. When I'm not working taking pictures of old cars and trucks, I'm either writing articles for Creative Market or hawking stickers at Whipps Sticker Co.

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  • I like it, but I always like anything that creates something in the negative space. OTOH, if you didn't already know it was subway, it would not mean anything, so maybe not the best branding concept. 5 years ago
  • I think the Subway logo with the Green Outline is the strongest. 5 years ago
  • It loses character and vision... not too good to be a redisign, it doesn't top the old one. 5 years ago
  • I like the monogram. I guess the word mark will grow on me... 5 years ago
  • The new design is more old school than the one we know now. I can't give it too much credit or call it innovative, being that the new logo is basically a copy from the 1977 one. I also think the previous green was better. That being said, I don't think it's a bad logo. And the monogram is great! 5 years ago
  • I was thinking that too, Kelly! Just a mix of the most recent and the one from the '70s. 5 years ago
  • It's an improvement because it doesn't stray too far from the previous version, and it looks clean and modern. I like the idea of a monogram option, but in this case, it could be confused with a mass transit sign. I'm sure that the primary reason for updating the look is to erase the association of the infamous Jared with the previous logo. 5 years ago
  • The old one is better in that it has more impact and visibility, albeit it does need refreshing somewhat 5 years ago
  • It takes some getting used to, yet I like the new logo. 5 years ago
  • Good look! 5 years ago
  • The new one is a good logo as far as a logo goes. That being said, when you compare the two, I do prefer the one that we've known for years. I know that studies have been done showing that most often in a case like this, the most common reaction is for people to initially reject the redesign of a logo because that is just how our mind's tend to work. We are not creatures that accept change easily as much as we would like to deny that notion. We prefer what is familiar and draw comfort from it. I honestly don't feel that is the case here, at least for me. I typically love seeing how designers take a brand that is fairly notorious and re-inventing it in their personal style, even if it's just for the sake of doing it. In the case of the Subway logo, I feel that the original is more solid and fluid. The new one has way too much negative space around it. It feels wasteful, which is the exact opposite of one of Subway's primary messages as far as the food they offer. I feel like the new designers tried to jump on the bandwagon with a current design trend, Google's Material style. I will admit that in some cases, I love the flat and minimalistic style of design. But in some instances, I feel that the lack of visual interest just falls "flat," for lack of a better term. It gets lost amongst products in the same market. The arrows really bother me as well. I know that the original logo used arrows, but the outline gave it that little something. When done in the flat style, the first thing that comes to mind honestly is the Hillary Clinton campaign. :/ It's another trend that is starting to become overly used right now. And this part may seem contradictory considering that the font in the original logo is much more angular, but something about the way the new logo is laid out makes the arrows seem overly harsh and sharp compared to the rest of the logo. And that may be because of the very statement that I just made; it's too stark of a contrast when thrown in with the more rounded font of the new logo. It's visually less appealing or fluid to me. I love it when a company goes the extra mile to include an insignia or wordmark to complement the logo in their branding package. There are so many instances when the full logo is just too much, whereas the insignia/wordmark is just enough. But, again, in this case, the wordmark in this design just doesn't cut it. It feels awkward and bulky, the double arrows AND the use of negative space AND the color contrast.... it just feels too busy for the brain to quickly make sense of what its seeing. I had to look away for a second and then look at it again before my eyes could even focus on the "S" created by the negative space. I was actually trying to create and "S" out of the two arrows rather than in the negative space. Every aspect is competing for attention at all once rather than complementing each other. Ahh, I know that's a lot and there are probably quite a few that don't agree with me. It's just my opinion and usually I don't have much to say about a company's rebranding. For some reason, this one just bugged me. I feel like there was so many different things that the designer/s could have done differently and had a great end product. Hopefully, I'm wrong and it's a huge success. Overall, it is good work, but in the end I feel like there was just too many "trends" attempted in a company that is pretty iconic and not so "trendy." A brand that has managed to stay in the top of their market for almost half a century deserves a logo that won't be out of style the next time a new design trend floods the media. 5 years ago
  • Without the outline the logo is splitting in 2 and I think is a bad subliminal message. 5 years ago