How to Create a Great Restaurant Logo and Why it Matters

Beata Grace Beatty

Beata is a Florida-based freelance writer. When she’s not researching and pitching story ideas, she’s reading, walking on the beach, fiddling with home projects, and keeping up with her two daughters.

The writers for the Harvard Business Review report that logos absolutely matter and not taking proper care in their design can be a costly mistake. A great logo draws the interest of potential customers; differentiates and defines your brand from others; and allows for higher recognition. Design elements can impact the bottom line and potential investor interest. Therefore, as you consider branding and design for your new restaurant, don’t skimp on logo design.

Graphics designer drawing a great logo for a restaurant

Components of a stellar logo

Make sure your logo has these components. If not, go back to the drawing board and consider how to make a better logo.

  • Represents individuality and brand. Research your competitors and avoid similarities.
  • Longevity. Consider if your logo will age well. You don’t want to spend time or money on a redesign every couple of years.
  • Simplicity. Keep it clean and uncluttered.
  • Scalability. The ability to reproduce your logo to very large or small scale, for example, on your signs, menus, digitally, and on anything you sell.

Follow this ultimate guide to logo design to ensure you have a recognizable logo that will stand out.

Expert advice

We reached out to Katherine Humphreys, MFA, digital artist, animator, and educator currently teaching at Eckerd College, St Petersburg College, and Purdue University.

What are the key components of a great logo?

“A logo should be a representation of your business. It doesn’t have to be a direct representation, but it should show a look and feel and even show some sense of your mission.

Besides having meaning to the business, a logo must be identifiable in color or back and white, and easy to read at any size. You should be able to print your logo on a billboard, a menu, an apron, a glass, or even an embroidered hat. With these considerations, it’s important that a logo has an easily identifiable message but also be easy to recognize.”

Where does a business owner start — sketches, business concept, brand? At what point do you consider creative in your venture?

“Once the business owner identifies their mission, they can reach out to a professional graphic designer.

Typically, a designer will start the logo design process with a creative brief, a long list of questions for the business owner. Questions that will help the graphic designer make decisions on what appeals to the demographic.

  • Who is your target audience?
  • Who is your competition?
  • What are your core values?

From there, the designer can begin the following design process phases: research, mood board, sketching, digital drawing, color research, and typography. The business owner would approve each of these milestones.”

Should you go DIY or professional with your restaurant logo design?

“I always recommend using a professional, mainly because you want a creative solution for a unique look and feel.

Cheap logo services you find on the internet repeat the same logos over and over again for every customer. They use stock art and type found on everyone’s computers, or they use cheap icons that anyone can purchase. When your company grows, you want it to stand out from the crowd and do not want the branding to be easily duplicated.

As far as costs, hiring a designer can go from $100 to $10,000. The difference is the time the designer or ad agency will spend on market research and creative solution options. Typically, a freelance graphic designer might charge under $1,500 for a custom logo. An ad agency would charge a lot more.

If you are on a tight budget, look to schools with design and digital arts programs. Students are thirsty for professional portfolio work, and many times, design teachers will incorporate the task into the classroom. It’s also a great way to develop a relationship with a talented designer who you can work with for years to come.

A good example of student designers at work is the Design Center at Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. Students get class credit and portfolio examples for professional jobs the school facilitates.”

What are your favorite restaurant logos?

“I love to look through the menus on Art of the Menu. There is so much creativity there. You really get a good taste of every kind of audience.

Do I have a favorite? I would have to say no, as that can change daily! Lately, a few logos that appeal to me are:

  • Torafuku by Brief Interdisciplinary Design Studio. The logo is all caps, gold letters stand tall and confident against the trusting light blue background.
  • Victory Restaurant by Art Center Studio This logo was carefully designed to appeal to a crowd that appreciates history. The Roman-style laurels pared with the chiseled-like serif lettering makes me think of ancient Rome. This creates trust in the company and makes me think I’m in for a luxury experience.
  • Ravello by Karla Newton. The red circle against the black and white box really pops, the container illustration is fun and shows me what they make, and the font choice has an old fashioned feel, which inspires trust.”

In the end, researchers and experts agree that your logo matters to your bottom line. Although it is only a piece of the marketing and design plan, a well-designed logo is the face of your restaurant and has the potential to attract and keep customers and investors.

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