What You Didn't Know About McDonald's Golden Arches

There are very few things that represent the Americana culture the way that McDonald's does. According to a student study published on UKEssays, McDonald's is seen as a symbol of American culture and a way to learn more about it. One of McDonald's most iconic features? Its golden arches, according to BBC Culture. Best Designs states that people around the world can instantly recognize the golden arches because of its simple design. The arches give customers a sense of stability and familiarity that very few other logos do. Once someone walks into a McDonald's, they know what they are getting.

Oddly enough, the iconic arches — one of the most recognizable logos in the world (via BBC Culture) — didn't always start off that way. When the first McDonald's opened, the owners wanted a recognizable symbol that travelers and locals could see from the road — two separate arches. Years later, the arches were combined by owner Ray Kroc, and the rest was history (via BBC Culture).

How the McDonald's double arches got their start

In 1952, brothers Richard James "Dick" McDonald and Maurice James "Mac" McDonald decided that they wanted to go into the restaurant business and create a place that was truly unique, according to The Vintage News. Equipped with over two decades of industry experience, Dick knew their establishment had to stand out, and thus was born the idea for "The Golden Arches" (via The Vintage News). After several rounds of interviews, they finally found architect Stanley Clark Meston, who produced sketches for what would become an iconic logo known around the world, seen at over 38,000 locations (via The Vintage News and ThoughtCo).

But it wasn't until 1954, when Kroc entered the picture, that things started to change for the McDonald's brothers and their humble little burger place. According to The Vintage News, Kroc was the reason that McDonald's began to spread like wildfire across the US. The McDonald's brothers witnessed the unprecedented growth of their business, and in 1961, through some very interesting circumstances, Kroc bought out the brothers.

The modern McDonald's

Once Kroc had full control of the company, he sought to create a more standardized design in order to ease the franchising process moving forward (via The Vintage News). Had it not been for design consultant Louis Cheskin, Kroc would have done away with the arches. Cheskin, who was an apparent fan of Freudian philosophies, argued that the arches gave off maternal vibes (take a gander at what he meant) and that it would create a sense of nurturing safety within customers (via The Vintage News and BBC World Service).

Per Cheskin's recommendation, Kroc kept the arches, but removed them from the actual building design. Artist Jim Schindler is credited for merging the two arches and creating the iconic "M" that has a higher level of recognition than the Christian cross (via BBC World Service and Business Optimizer). Today, the iconic logo can be found in over 100 countries, serving up burgers, fries, and happiness, to over 69 million people a day (via ThoughtCo).