The arches were introduced in 1953, when Dick and Mac McDonald were building a new outlet in Phoenix, Arizona. Architect Stanley Meston designed a walk-up hamburger stand with red and white tiles and a distinctive sloped roof, but Dick McDonald, wanting more visual appeal, sketched a pair of stylized yellow arches, one at each side. Mestson accepted other changes but rejected the arches; in the end, sign-maker George Dexter was hired to construct the arches. When viewed from an angle, the design was reminiscent of the letter M. A sign out front incorporated yet a third yellow arch along with the chain's signature character, a chef named Speedee.
In 1962, seeking to upgrade its image, the company sought a new logo. Fred Turner sketched a stylized "V", but the company's head of engineering and design, Jim Schindler, extended the "V" into an "M" resembling a McDonald's store viewed from an angle, with a red isosceles trapezoid "roof" serving as background for lettering.
While McDonald's dropped the physical arches from nearly all of its restaurants in the 1960s, the Golden Arches have remained in the logo, and as a commonly understood term for the company. All McDonald's stores and commercials in Canada have a maple leaf in the middle of the Golden Arches.