The History of and Story Behind the Panera Bread Logo

Panera Bread

Panera Bread has a unique logo that distinguishes it from all others. the registered trademark contains a variety of elements that work well with one another to set it apart and make it memorable. To fully appreciate the logo for Panera Bread, it’s important to know the history and story of the company.

Panera Bread history

According to Logo History, Panera Bread is a restaurant chain known as The St. Louis Bread Company in the city that it is named after. The franchise has also expanded from the United States into Canada. The menu includes various organic foods, bakery items, sandwiches, soups, and some providing dinner pizzas. The restaurant chain is categorized as fast food yet casual as you can sit in the restaurant and eat.

The Panera Bread logo and its interesting history

The first thing that we notice when we look at the Panera Bread logo is the image of a woman with flowing hair. It appears that the image is flowing to the right, in a forward-moving manner. She is holding a loaf of bread. The slogan of Panera Bread is “A loaf of bread in every arm,” so this image reinforces that statement in our minds. The associates at Panera Bread know her as Mother Bread. The first logo for Panera Bread was developed by a branding company called Heckler Associates. The bread along with the woman in the image has a significant meaning behind the symbols. When making sourdough bread, a piece is pulled off of the loaf to use as a starter because it will help to ferment the rest of the batch. The small chunk of dough that is taken is called the “mother,” but the technical term for it is the starter. The image is meant to represent the Mother Bread carrying back the starter to the Panera Bread factory to continue the process of making sourdough bread. Here is a bit of history that not many fans of Panera Bread are aware of. The original starter dough was formed in the 1980s. A piece of that original dough is taken to every new Panera Bread bakery that opens and is used to start the new batches of sourdough for that site. It’s a way of carrying on an established tradition. It’s intended for the original quality and character of Panera to rise again. This is a lovely sentiment that is entwined with the symbolism found in the logo.

Why the logo image is so appealing

According to 1000 Logos, the woman holding the bread has a smile on her face and it looks as though she’s cradling a baby in her arms. This is an image that invokes warm and fuzzy feelings. The marketing team that put this image together did so to combine elements that would make one feel at home and loved. We know that the types of food served at Panera Bread are comfort foods. Most of the menu items contain a fair amount of carbohydrates. These work in our digestive systems to bring a sense of fulfillment and contentment. The log does a very good job of evoking these emotions in all who see it.

The font of Panera Bread

The font is another element of the Panera Bread logo that is deserving of discussion. It is a unique font that has the appearance of a bespoke script that has been customized specifically for the Panera Bread franchise. The font is unique and one-of-a-kind. The curvy lines in their smoothness are soothing like the image of the mother holding the loaf of bread. The choice of font design is complementary to the intentions of the image as smooth and curvy lines are often associated with femininity and motherhood. The name of the company is printed in this font that looks as though it has been hand-written to give it an even more homey feeling.

The Color scheme of the Panera Bread logo

The color choices for the Panera Bread logo take a brilliant approach using the early colors of a beige tone for the woman with outlines of darker brown hair. The image portrayed in soft lines is set against a background of an earthy mottled green coloring that resembles split pea soup. She is placed in the middle of the background with the wordmark falling directly underneath her. The beige and brown palette are warm colors that make observers feel warm and comfortable. The beige and brown also mimic the colors of fresh baked goods.

The wordmark

The wordmark is a simple iteration of the name of the franchise. It is simple and inviting. The white color gives the wordmark a clear contrast against the earthy-green background. This makes it stand out very well. The color white represents purity and honesty. These are values that the Panera Bread franchise embraces and wants to promote. It also stands for purity and desire to provide consumers with high-quality ingredients and nutrients in the bread and other menu items offered.

Evolution of the logo

The first logo was introduced in 1987. It featured mother bread, the loaf, and the wordmark with Panera below the image of Mother Bread, and the word Bread in an enclosed set of chevrons beneath. In 2011, the black print used in the wordmark was changed to a dark brown color, with a different font used. This version of the logo is still in use. An alternative logo was developed in 2019, featuring a more modern and younger-looking woman holding three large shafts of wheat with the full heads intact. She is placed in the center of the wordmark. The word Panera, the image, followed by the “bread,” makes up the new alternate wordmark. The words appear in white against a black background with Mother Bread in beige and dark brown.

Final thoughts

The Panera Bread logo was developed by a brilliant team of marketers who understand the notion of comfort. The restaurants are casual yet they do have a fast-food vibe. When we see the woman in the image, along with the presentation of the images and the wordmark, we sense a slight slant that seems to move the entire logo forward. This is intentional because Panera Bread has the intention to maintain its original roots while being progressive in moving forward to meet customer wants and desires. It’s a simple logo that features things from home that gives us a sense of well-being and satisfaction. Freshly baked bread, a mother’s love and comfort foods that make us feel sleepy and relaxed are images that come to our minds when we look at the Panera Bread logo.


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