During a conversation at a barbeque with family friend Dr Peter Buck, Peter suggested that Fred open a submarine sandwich shop — having seen a sandwich shop in his hometown become hugely successful. Peter lent Fred $1,000, forming a partnership that saw Pete’s Super Submarines open in August 1965.

Pete’s Super SubmarinesPete’s Super Submarines, 1965, via Stamford Advocate

The duo opened their second shop a year later and realised that visibility would be key to the success of the business — the third shop was in a highly visible spot and still serves sandwiches today. The name was shortened to Pete’s Subway and the familiar yellow logo was introduced.

Pete’s SubwayPete’s Subway

Then in 1968, “Pete’s” was dropped altogether and the brand became Subway.

Franchising was the next step in the business plan, and in 1974 the first Subway franchise opened in Connecticut.

1977 Subway commercial

The first Subway logo was used with slight changes until 2002, when the logo we’ll be more familiar with (below) was introduced.

Old Subway logoSubway wordmark, 2002-2016

Old Subway logoSingle colour variation, 2015-2016

the next stage of the Subway logo evolution was unveiled last week with somewhat of a return to the original look, losing the italics and adding more curves.

New Subway logoSubway wordmark, unveiled 2016

Subway monogramSubway monogram, 2016

New Subway logo

Today, Subway employs 450,000 people across 44,000 outlets in 111 countries. According to Forbes, Peter Buck has amassed a fortune of $3.6 billion. Fred DeLuca died at the age of 67 in 2015, with a net worth of $3.5 billion.

The new logo will rollout across all Subway locations from early 2017.

Via @Logo_Geek.

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August 8, 2016

Comments

The new logo disconnects me from the product, somehow. In fact, my first impression was that it looked like the logo of a trucking company. The monogram is certainly very clever, akin to the FedEx arrow. But changes to well-established logos require a period of adjustment. Maybe someday I’ll bemoan the loss of the ‘classic’ 2016 logo.

Not a big fan of Subway but I feel the italic form in the old logo was representing a fast service, quick food. That’s missing in the latest one.

Subway is a play on the word Subway – like the train – there’s an In and an Out. Like an NYC Subway or any major Metro, the original sign is intended to look like a hybrid of a street and an old subway (Subway train) sign. It gives them a history (like they are Italian from NYC) rather than spinning it to old hicks in Florida with a sandwich shop idea. That doesn’t make great story telling. :) Well it does. But it doesn’t. It is kind of like a drive-through when you’re on foot as it’s not just random stations of registers like McDonald. You have to join the queue – spend time there – spend time with sandwich builder – pay – leave. There is an in and out process. As in the car but on foot. Look at menu – order in speaker – agree that your order is XYZ – continue to drive through – window one – window two – food – condiments – gone. Same things you get at Subway on your way out. Difference is on feet, however, to the average customer, meaning not a brand geek like me – of course I agree with you.

Blah blah to the naysayers. This is a brilliant and character-rich update. The previous logo was solid and mainstream, but the new logo strikes me as more original and, in some ways, it’s less ‘slick’ and more wholesome. It already looks A LOT like Subway, as if it’s always been there, somewhere in the background. I wonder how this logo will look against images, though, unless it’s reversed out to white, or they put it in a white box (perhaps that’s coming).

Entirely my own preference, but I love the eccentric right hand twist to the Y, it’s both awkward and endearing, like a crooked smile.

I had no idea of the history of this franchise! Not a fan of the food, but love a good story.

That being said, the newest logo rendition is quite nice. If it was a redesign “just because,” then it would make no sense. But a modern update with the obvious nod to the original logo? Well, that’s a perfect way to do it.

Include me in the ranks of the believers. The new mark is more visually unified, has greater presence, Beautiful modulation into the signet monogram, better color memorability and is going to seem timeless within a month of its introduction. Only downside is the loss of the vernacular-ish tonality of the old one – but everyone knows it is not a corner shop anymore.

Quite humorous to read the comments on this and other design forums, all praising the “originality” and “freshness” of this new wordmark… when it is nearly a line for line copy of the previous logo style that was replaced in 2002. All that’s been done is a small tweak to the arrows and removing the brown background… and voila, back to the future… circa 1990. Not exactly new branding.

The “S” icon is a new image… it might catch on… although I agree with the poster who said it suggests a trucking company.

Basically it’s just time – signs are worn, etc. I don’t pay much attention to their shops but considering their growth rate and flexibility as a franchiser this is always an area that makes smaller franchisees and individual franchise groups squeamish, because new anything = exit of cash. But I’m sure Subway has given them time and has a loan program for the disruption in cash flow this causes for the smaller counterparts so they can survive the hurdle. It’s also a profit area that a large company very infrequently gets to tap into – now stores will look fresher with new uniforms and paper products. Plus it’s a sign of stability and growth – you change your logo when you’re relevant. This is a win-win logo. It means the same as the old one – arrow IN and OUT – (= quick serve). Green is go. Yellow yield. But no red. No stopping. All traffic-based and health-based. Green lettuce. Yellow bread/cheese. Most likely always avoided red – even though red is tomato – as it associates with every historically unhealthy fast food chain. Wishing them great luck. The owners I have encountered over the years when I worked near one were always eager to please and never cried the big man takes my money – like some easy-launch places. Subway owners work hard – but not because they told me so – I recognize it in their labor and care.

I love the 60s feel of the original ones. They look like they may have been made out of real ingredients by hand. While the new logo looks clean and tidy, and it’s a good clean up of the previous, fussy, unnatural looking logo (which I never liked), it’s still extremely corporate.

I’d rather eat at Pete’s Super Submarines.

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