Chasing the phantom behind the infamous Döner Kebab logo design
Most countries have a dish with whose invention they adorn themselves and that is being promoted as a national treasure with cultural significance. To serve only a few of the stereotypes, we could say the Italians are incredibly specific on how they cook their pasta, the Belgians can’t do without waffles and the Austrians do love a good Schnitzel. Countries and inventors of dishes take credit for original recipes, secret ingredients, or the only ‘real’ way of preparing a certain meal.
And then there are also snacks that are incredibly popular across borders but nobody really knows where they are coming from. One of these bites definitely is the Döner Kebab. Being extremely popular in Germany and across all Europe but having roots in the Turkish / middle eastern cuisine the origin of this highly demanded munch is blurred. However, we are not gonna join the controversy on who was the creator of the Döner Kebab. This is not only because too many people are involved in that discussion already but also because there are other mysteries connected to the favourite snack of the Germans, like for example the question of all questions:
Who invented the Döner Logo that is to be seen on almost all little paper bags the Kebabs are wrapped in?
The FAZ journalist Jonas Jansen has been investigating this very topic in his recently published article ‘Jäger des verflixten Dönerlogos’ (in German).
For more than two years now already he is on the lookout for the designer of the iconic Döner Kebap Logo and crossed paths with all kinds of people who did not (know) or did not want to know about the origin of this red and white logo. There was no trademark protection, no inventor, illustrator nor designer who is taking credit for the design. The internet has been asked for help and although many hints have attempted to lead Jonas Jansen on the right path – the creator of the Döner logo is yet to be found! The internet has been asked for help and although many hints have attempted to lead Jonas Jansen on the right path – the creator of the doener logo is still to be found!
In the meantime there has even been a Podcast published on this topic by his colleagues from the FAZ Podcast Germany to support Jonas Jansen.
The difficulty of finding the creator made us consider another side of the story. Maybe the designer of the Döner Logo wants to remain anonymous (and is doing a great job in doing so!). Taking on commercial commissions has not always been a wise decision for designers and artists as we can see on the example of Günther Fruhtrunk. The german artist who was actually known as an abstract painter and even represented West Germany at the Venice Biennale in 1968, the documenta4 and taught at the Munich Academy for the Arts designed the iconic ALDI-Nord plastic bag, which was to be seen on the streets all over the world until 2018 (when Aldi opted in for a rebranding of the now environmental friendly) shopping bags. After taking the commission of Aldi, Fruhtrunk not only apologized to his students – his career also did not exactly experience an upswing and today his work is barely remembered, which is strange considering how many of us are familiar with one of his works.
We could imagine that the designer of the Döner Logo knows about this rather tragic story and wants his own future to look a bit brighter. Although this is just a wild guess and we do not want the unknown creator to face consequences like Fruhtrunk did we are now also really curious too who invented the infamous Döner logo and want to support the journalist Jansen (who according to latest updates is on to something) in his mission and also ask you, our community, for hints! So, if you’ve heard of any valuable information, feel free to reach out to us or Jan Jansen, and let’s solve this mystery together!