The Pizza Hut logo is one of the most recognized logos worldwide. It’s been around for decades, in some shape or form, and was first introduced in 1958. It has had several changes over the years before finally settling on the one we know today.
As the world’s largest catering structure, its logo pulls some serious weight by representing its expansive menu, including not just pizza but also desserts, pasta, breadsticks, buffalo wings, and sides. It’s all under one roof at Pizza Hut, pun definitely intended.
In fact, red roofs across the globe often remind people of the world’s largest pizza chain, with over 18,000 franchise locations. That red is synonymous with Pizza Hut’s logo, brick-and-mortar locations, and, of course, their quintessential sauce.
Let’s take a look at the history of Pizza Hut and the history of the iconic logo that we now associate with the franchise.
About Pizza Hut
Much like many businesses, Pizza Hut has humble beginnings. It started with two brothers and wasn’t the immediate success that we know today. Those two boys with a plan and a dream, Dan and Frank Carney, founded Pizza Hut in 1958. They had an entrepreneurial spirit, and the idea to start the franchise came to them when they were just poor college students. A friend suggested opening a pizza parlor, and they took the idea and ran with it.
Times were different then, so they borrowed just $600 from their mother and started their first restaurant.
Creative thinking proved to be a strong suit of theirs when they took the limited eight-letter space on the restaurant’s sign and deemed it Pizza Hut. It continued when they kicked off their grand opening night by giving away pizza made on second-hand equipment to encourage community interest. As anyone low on cash or who’s been to college will tell you, nothing attracts an audience quite like free food, especially pizza.
As you can guess, the restaurant quickly picked up steam and became a local favorite. Its first franchise location opened in Topeka, Kansas, just six months later. This new restaurant opened the door to what would be generations of successful franchise expansion. Though the Carney Brothers lacked experience, they learned fast and could think on their feet, which helped them to adapt to the industry. Soon, they had six more locations open in North America.
Over ten years later, in 1977, the brothers sold the business to PepsiCo, which saw even more success thanks to the new parent company’s marketing and promotion abilities. Over the course of its history, new items were added to the menu, and new locations quickly opened worldwide. Pizza Hut was becoming more popular, with more spin-offs of the original restaurant being launched rapidly across the globe. Some locations attracted new customers with carryout and delivery options, while others pulled in the lunch crowds with buffets.
Pizza Hut kept expanding, and now you’ll find locations a-plenty that offer unique menus and options.
Pizza Hut’s Logo Over Time
The Pizza Hut logo has been through numerous changes in its cyclical path back to the start. While some things drastically changed, there are a handful of design elements that you’ll see repeated over and over again throughout the course of the logo’s history.
The Original Logo (1958)
The first logo for the franchise was created in 1958 and in no way resembled what we see in the brand today. The first Pizza Hut logo was just a wordmark. It had bright red letters in all capitals that, at the time, reflected a modern, classy style and worked as the company’s logo everywhere. The letters sat on different planes and heights, evoking a sense of movement and making the logo more fun and creative. It was simple and straightforward, and the red helped it to stand out from others, thanks to its bold style.
The Pizza Hut Logo from 1973-74
The first logo remained with the company for quite some time before making a brief detour during its next redesign. However, it wasn’t a drastic redesign. Instead, the franchise decided to simply change the color palette. The executive took away the red and white color palette and replaced it with simple black and white. The red lettering was replaced by black, and the words were now stacked on top of each other. Although the letters still tilted to showcase a bit of personality and fun, it was undoubtedly less bold than its predecessor. This logo stuck around for a whopping year before the company decided that it was time to change it up once more and bring back some color.
Pizza Hut’s Roof Logo Appears (1974-1999)
So, just a year later, San Moyers took on the task of redesigning the Pizza Hut logo. This logo marked the first time that audiences would see the now iconic red roof that, to this day, is still the icon most associated with the restaurant. This red roof debuted as the new design and would later be used in other versions of the logo. The 1974 redesign still incorporated the company’s name, and it sat just below the red roof in bold black letters. The letters had long, curved lines in this version, and the font was classy and modern. The roof was depicted with sharp angles, straight lines, and solid coloring, which created a clean, straightforward look.
1999 – 2008 A Time of Fast-Paced Fun
Pizza Hut had a new idea. The previous logo was incredibly popular when it launched, so they decided that embellishing it could make it even better. In 1999, Pizza Hut updated its emblem to one that many current fans remember fondly. They redrew the lettering so that it looked more modern and fun. It sat at a slight diagonal below the red roof. They also added a yellow touch, and the ‘i’ had a new green dot. The roof also saw some updates. It got a thick black outline, and the contours were adjusted slightly. Design firm Landor Associates created this new version, which lasted several years.
Notably, the dot above the ‘i’ in the Pizza Hut logo was a specific choice from branding consulting firm Landor Associates. Most reports state that it symbolized a basil leaf – a component of Margherita pizza and brought out the Italian tricolor pattern that is popular among many Italian restaurants and pizza joints. The red, white, and green combination, along with a little yellow, are also supposedly the best colors for food branding, making the viewer hungry. Whether that’s actually true is still up for debate.
2008 – 2017: Another Redesign
The new logo stayed with the brand for nearly ten years before a complete redesign was initiated. Here, two more shades of red and white letters replaced the above logo. The original red roof sat against a darker red background; below that, you could see an even darker red in a rectangle with the company name in white. The font for the lettering remained the same, but the overall changes to the logo were significantly different. The dark square that housed the design was striking behind the bright white inscription. This logo breathed a new personality into the brand, but another change was around the corner.
A New & Glossy Change from 2010 to 2014
In 2010, Pizza Hut decided to go back to the early color palette from 1999. However, they didn’t totally change their logo back to its original design from that era. Instead, the brand chose to create a new, glossy version of that traditional design. This update created a modern look, with the contours and the roof looking more vivid, evoking a sense of movement and speed. Here, the name sat below the icon in white letters with red accents. It also had a small black background and a white underline. The roof was extended a little and sat at a bit of an angle. The lettering was also much more blocky and straight, with the first letters of each word extended below the others.
The Red & White Logo (2014 – 2019)
That logo stayed with Pizza Hut for four years before changing again. This time it was simplified, and the red and white color palette returned to a monochromatic, modern look. A solid red circle sat behind the text with swirling edges. The roof and letters returned to the slanted, playful lettering and were in a bold white. The circle also mimicked the shape of a pizza and its sauce. This version looked cleaner with a simple palette, where the brand name stood out but was still minimalistic.
The Current Pizza Hut Logo (2019 – Present)
The last update made to the Pizza Hut logo was in 2019. However, the above logo is still used in certain situations. In 2019, the brand brought back the logo from 1974. It showcases the classic black lettering and the traditional red roof. This traditional symbol of Pizza Hut is still instantly recognized by audiences and reminds viewers of the numerous places it was used in movies and TV in the 80s and 90s. The only update to this logo is that the red is a darker shade. Today this is the most common logo used in marketing and promotional material.
Pizza Hut Logo Key Elements
Over the years, there have been a few main elements that ring through for each of the Pizza Hut logo redesigns. While it’s definitely had a varied history, you’ll usually always see the following features in the brand’s logo.
Throughout its history, the Pizza Hut logo has used red, black, and yellow, but especially red. While we occasionally see yellow and green, the more commonly used colors are red, ranging from lighter to very dark, and white.
2. The Roof
The Pizza Hut logo has used an abstract element resembling a roof or hat since 1967. The roof was meant to mimic the actual roofs of the franchise stores, initially designed by Richard D. Burke for the very first location, and symbolizes protection and safety. At the same time, it evokes the second part of the company’s name, “hut.” Also seen as a red hat, it channels the warmth and love the brand offers its diners as a family, community-centric chain.
3. The Playful Font
The script wordmark for Pizza Hut has always utilized a unique custom typeface. You’ll see the slanted letters, the extended curves of the current version, and very bold all-caps letters. The current version, which was introduced as a part of the Flavor of Now campaign, goes back to that solid yet creative font from the 1974 logo.
The Logo in Action
Pizza Hut has never been shy about experimenting with new and unique marketing techniques or shying away from product placement in a plethora of movies and TV shows.
In 1965, their debut television commercial, “Putt Putt to the Pizza Hut,” reflected their first version of a slogan. Since then, they’ve had several, including “Makin’ it amazing!” ” from 1987 to 1995, “You’ll adore what we’re made of” from 1995 to 1999, “Gather ’round the wonderful things” from 1999 to 2007, “Now You’re Eating Your Favorites” from 2008 to 2009, from 2009 to 2012, it was “Your Pizza Hut,” and from 2012 to 2016, it was “Make it fantastic” (a play on their 1987 tagline). Today, they’re using “No one out pizzas the hut,” which could be their best yet.
Pizza Hut has also used advertising to its advantage in both television and movies. In 1989, they sponsored the film Back to the Future Part II, offering free futuristic eyeglasses with every pizza purchase. Their logo and brand were also featured in the movie itself, with a space-age version of their emblem in several scenes.
They’re also in TMNT. While Domino’s may have been in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film of 1990, Pizza Hut was showcased on VHS tapes when the movie went to home video. Additionally, during the 1990 “Coming Out of Their Shells” concert tour and album release, it’s believed that Pizza Hut spent over $20 million on marketing for the Turtles. The team-up lasted until the 2014 Michael Bay Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.
Their classic logo, which Pizza Hut is using again, can also be spotted in Wayne’s World in a not-so-subtle joke about product placement. Subtle or not, we all remember Wayne opening that box of pizza and giving the camera a big smile.
In fact, Pizza Hut loves sponsorships. In 2005, they got the rights to name the Major League Soccer stadium FC Dallas Pizza Hut Park. In 2015, they signed sponsorship arrangements with the Dallas Stars and Mavericks, American Airlines, and several more. In 2018, Pizza Hut became the NFL’s official pizza sponsor and is currently the NCAA’s official sponsor.
With about $600, two brothers and pizza entrepreneurs built one of the globe’s biggest pizza franchises. What lessons can we draw from Pizza Hut? Experimentation and risk can play off. They’ve never allowed their brand to stay stuck in the past and have embraced every type of marketing and advertising avenue around. The company continues to succeed and reaches new hungry pizza fans every day.
While there may be talk of locations closing, Pizza Hut remains strong thanks to globalization and online ordering options. Many businesses were hit hard during the pandemic, but Pizza Hut adapted yet again and continues to do so, securing its success for many years to come.