Papa Johns fires up brand overhaul, drops apostrophe from logo

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A new article on Marketing Dive reports that Papa John's International is enacting a brand overhaul spanning its visual identity, logo and store design as it responds to changing mandates in the restaurant category, according to a press release.

The "Hungry for Better" platform, echoing a long-standing "Better Ingredients. Better Pizza." tagline, introduces a "Better by Design" logo centered on a simple, fun and bold ethos. It draws on the chain's signature red-and-green color scheme while making the asset more clean and distinguishable online and in-person and was created with Su Mathews Hale Design.

The broader updated visual identity, spearheaded by agency Forpeople, takes inspiration from the pizza chain's ingredients through a new color palette, along with a custom font and "hand-drawn happiness" illustration style mirroring the hand-crafted nature of its food. Forpeople worked with Colophon Foundry on the typography elements. Regarding the retail changes, the QSR teamed with Big Red Rooster on store concepts that better accommodate channels like drive-thru and pickup, a sign that ordering habits solidified by the pandemic will endure.

Papa John's International -- the company name retains the apostrophe while the logo drops it -- is capitalizing on a winning pandemic sales streak with a wide-ranging brand refresh covering its visual identity and in-store design. Changes aim to modernize the look and operations of the pizza chain while preserving a fun and simple vibe, as well as amplifying its established stake in quality ingredients.

The move could be interpreted as the most significant step yet to distance the business from founder and namesake John Schnatter, who was ousted amid a series of controversies in 2018. Perhaps tellingly, the new logo drops an apostrophe from "John's," thematically breaking a sense of ownership to a particular person. Papa Johns in recent years has worked closely with other ambassadors to clean up its image, including Shaquille O'Neal, who is a franchise owner and joined the company's board in 2019 along with making appearances in marketing and promotions.
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