One of the best things about the iconic McDonald’s logo is that culture, price point, and convenience are all baked into one letter. It’s simple, unforgettable, and greets customers before they reach the door. Your restaurant logo is a major component of your business’s visual identity and one of the main ingredients of a successful restaurant marketing campaign, so you want to get it right. Here’s everything you need to know in order to create a restaurant logo that’s attractive, memorable, and easily recognizable.
3 questions to ask before creating a logo
As with the process of naming a restaurant, designing a logo is not as simple as it may sound. It’s important that you do your research and think strategically about how to best represent your brand.
1. Who is your customer?
The first thing you need to know is that your restaurant logo isn’t supposed to reflect your personality or aesthetic; it’s about your business and its customers. Amanda Guerassio, designer and owner of Studio Guerassio, says the most successful brands focus on who they are trying to reach. “The business owner's personal color and style preferences are very low on the importance totem pole, because they are not the target audience," she explains. In order to design a logo that appeals to your customers, consider what they value and what is attractive to them.
2. What type of experience can your customer expect?
Whether you serve guests on white tablecloths or pass a cup of coffee across a counter, you want your logo to reflect the experience one can expect when visiting your establishment. If the concept is bold, then your logo should be bold, too. Fast-food restaurants usually use bright colors in their logo in order to attract a driver’s attention as they pass by. A formal restaurant’s logo, on the other hand, might veer on the side of subtlety to communicate the sophistication of the establishment.
3. What is your brand’s personality?
Imagine taking your brand out on a first date. You want to learn about the brand and get to know its personality. You want this relationship to last. Guerassio takes her clients through what she calls a brand dating process. “This helps us get clear on the restaurant's core brand,” she explains. “The owner's vision for it, how it's different, the market they hope to serve, the qualities and personality they want it to exude.” As you go through the design process, you can look at your restaurant branding notes to see if your logo is communicating what your brand embodies.
How to create a restaurant logo
Once you've made these determinations, you need to sketch out a restaurant logo that prioritizes three essential design elements. You can also check out these logo examples for inspiration.
When Owner and Executive Chef Karim Bryant was planning the logo for Lil GreenHouse Grill, he wanted it to feel like a breath of fresh air. “We created a space that feels like home, and we wanted the logo to say that,” says his managing partner, Nicole Gates. The bucolic house, rolling hills, and sprig of leaves are cast in a soft forest green to invoke a sense of calm so that potential customers know that they can expect a relaxed, laidback experience.
Again, it’s important to note that the logo will still capture the style and mood of Lil GreenHouse Grill even if it is set in a different color. “No matter how many colors your logo design has, it needs to work in one color since there are times when your logo will have to appear in either white or black,” says brand specialist and designer Rock Jackson.
Eileen Andrade owns and operates two restaurants—Amelia’s 1931 and Finka Table & Tap—and the logos are dramatically different. Because Amelia’s 1931 is an homage to her grandmother, she chose a curly, feminine, cursive font with old-school whimsy when crafting the logo. “The year under the name represents the year my grandmother was born which is definitely reflected in the interior of the restaurant with vintage knick-knacks and photos,” says Eileen. On the other hand, Finka Table & Tap has a very rustic, masculine interior, so the logo design follows suit. “We used a bold font to give the logo strength and dominance,” she explains.
To demonstrate the potency of a high-quality logo, Guerrasio created the concept of Midnight Juice, a classy women’s social club that offers craft cocktails and a refined bites menu. She drew out a martini glass with pink liquid and a crescent-moon swizzle stick in order to attract a female demographic and capture “a tongue-in-cheek, feminine vibe.” It is powerful in its simplicity—people appreciate graphics, but less is more when it comes to logos. Because the Midnight Juice logo isn’t overly complex, it maintains its essence even when Guerrassio reproduces it in different colors and sizes to accommodate the variety of contexts in which the logo may appear.
As you have probably gathered, there is a lot of work that goes into creating a restaurant logo that sings and, later, rings in the minds of customers long after they leave the restaurant. If you’re still not sure where to start, check out the Wix logo maker. Once you enter the name, the format of the establishment, and a few adjectives that best describe your brand, the tool will spit out dozens of options that you can customize. This collection of restaurant logo ideas may offer some inspiration. If you feel as lost as when you first began, you can hire a website designer to help you create a restaurant logo that encapsulates everything that makes your restaurant special.