A Happy Face for IHOP Rebrand


My first visit to the US was to Florida. It was way back in 2000 and I traveled there to complete a course in sky diving. On the drive to the airfield each morning we would often make a stop at the local IHOP (international House of Pancakes) restaurant to fill up on food before an exhilarating day of jumping out of a perfectly good aeroplane! I always remember the poster on the window of that particular IHOP which read "Steak isn't just for breakfast!". For a small town boy from the west country of England, the idea of eating steak at all for breakfast seemed like a very alien concept! Back then I was opening up to new experiences hence the sky diving, but steak for breakfast!!! That I couldn't quite grasp.
Ive since spent a good deal of time in the US and have seen almost all of it's States! Convenience and fast foods are ingrained into the country's culture and the brands that relate to these eateries and their history are of interest to me, so when I recently read that IHOP had re-branded, it really caught my attention. The first IHOP restaurant was opened in Los Angeles in 1958. Today there are 1650 IHOP restaurants worldwide, with 70 outside of the US.

The logo change designed by Kansas based Studio Tilt is a super example of how an intelligent and humorous change can make all the difference to the way that consumers view a business. Great design always seems so simple from the outset but a change like this takes real vision. The logo change is the first in more than 20 years for the business.

So whats changed then? Well firstly the heavy blue background box and frame have been omitted so that the words IHOP are now in the positive. The heavy drop shadow behind the lettering has also been taken away. The words restaurant have been removed from the red ellipse which is then rounded and scaled, flipped and aligning right. The juxtaposition of placing the ellipse below the 'O' and 'P' creates a smiling face. The palette has also been lightened. These clever changes create a modern, cheerful and fun brand icon. The perfect vision for a family restaurant like IHOP.


Todd Anderson is an award winning British designer, currently based in Cape Town he has worked with some of the worlds largest retailers and hosehold brand names.