Restaurant Logo- How to Convey Your Brand's Quality, Experience and Story

Restaurant Logo Design
Restaurant Logo Design

A logo is used to identify your brand with your customers. It needs to be iconic and easy to remember. A logo's job is to convey a message about your company to those customers.

It needs to convey what you are about, and it needs to do it as concisely as possible.

A logo is also one of the first things you do when you create a new business or product. This is will serve as how many customers will remember your brand in their minds.

Your restaurant's logo is present everywhere your brand is present. From your street signs, your menus, web pages, delivery vehicles to your bags and product wrappings. In a a progressive web application your logo represents your brand on the customer's homescreen. Don't forget any business stationary, business cards and other professional related content.

A proper progressive web app needs over 100 different sizes of your logo or icon to cover the potential device icons a customer might install your app. That is one of the features of our PWA Starter tool. This tool will generate a full set of these icons for your PWA along with the corresponding web manifest file and header meta tags.

A logo is the visual representation of your brand and can often be the differentiating factor between your restaurant and others with similar menus and target markets.

Logos are a combination of symbols, colors and text to convey a purpose.

So, no pressure, but you need to get your logo right.

When you think about how your logo should be designed there are a series of questions you should ask:

  • What does your company do, or do well?
  • What doesn’t your company do?
  • What differentiates your company from its competitors?

These questions will help guide the design process so you can home in on what you want your logo to convey about your brand.

Once you have determined what you want your logo to say about your company its time to create the logo. There are several aspects to the actual design you need to incorporate to make sure your logo enhances your restaurant.

Chose the Right Color

When you create your brand, a key aspect is to chose appropriate colors. Research shows our minds associate different emotions with different colors.

Most fast food restaurants seem to use red, yellow or both in their logos. Some red and yellow heavy examples include:

  • McDonald's
  • Pizza Hut
  • Chick-Fil-A
  • Denny's
  • Sonic
  • In and Out
  • Hardee's & Carl's Jr
  • Wendy's

There are many others. This is no mistake; red conveys excitement and youthfulness. Yellow creates a sense of optimism.

The logo company created the iconic infographic several years ago, demonstrating the use of color to convey emotions in popular logos.

Color Emotion Guide
Color Emotion Guide

Notice how restaurants tend to be located in the yellow, orange and red spectrum?

Of course, these are more fast food chain logos. If you look at more fast casual or more formal dining logos you will probably find more blues, greens and even browns. Health food restaurants should consider green because it conveys health. Blue conveys trust and dependability, which relates to a more sit-down establishment.

Design Adviser has also publish a detailed infographic on color psychology and how you can use it to boost conversions. A fact they point out in the infographic is fast-food patrons tend to be impulse buyers, which means you should use a color in the yellow-orange spectrum. This corresponds to many fast food chain color schemes, which of course is calculated as part of the brand image.

Consider what type of restaurant you have and want to convey. Chose a color scheme that matches the type of emotional connection you want to convey to your customers.

Chose a Font to Live Past Design Fads

Fonts can evoke emotion just like colors. There are 4 primary font families and each one conveys emotion and quality.

  • Serif: Tradition, respectable, comfort
  • Sans Serif: Stability, objective, clean and modern
  • Script: Elegance, affectionate and creative
  • Modern: Strong, progressive, Stylish

But be careful, you don't want to choose a font that dates you, like the iconic 70s era disco font. So many companies used this font in their logos and had to 'rebrand' soon after as we left that decade behind.

Microsoft has updated their logo often in the past 4 decades. The early logos are relics of bygone eras. Not only did they fall trap to the mid-70s era disco font, they then used an early 80s heavy metal inspired font for the replacement.

Early Microsoft Logos
Early Microsoft Logos

Microsoft's success came despite the logo faux pas, but I don't recommend attempting the same and expect growth.

If you are designing fonts there are many resources available with free and licensed fonts. A couple I have used over the years include:

You can download and install fonts to your computer to use in your design tool.

Personally, I tend to stick to stay with standard fonts most people are familiar reading. Which of course would follow the keep it simple principle.

Utilize Negative Space

White or negative space can be used to bring a higher level quality to your brand as well as make your site more readable. Logos are interesting when it comes to whitespace because it not only can raise your percieved value but can be used to convey hidden messages and meanings.

The FedEx logo is famous for the hidden arrow between the E and x to convey their goal of shipping packages.

  • FedEx logo uses negative space between Ex to be an arrow

Just like FedEx, restaurants can use negative space to convey their branding message through their logo.

Fish Lounge
Fish Lounge

The Fish Lounge logo incorporates a pair of fish hooks to create a simple fish between them. The fish of course is the negative space. Both the hooks and the fish establish the restaurant as a seafood establishment.

Martini House
Martini House

Similarly, the Martini House uses the space between two martini glasses to form a house. The iconography is used to represent the bar's name by using icons that represent both martini's and a house.

Cork Champaign
Cork Champaign

Finally, we can see the use of the space in the C made by creating a champagne bottle cork.

Besides using negative space for hidden meanings, it can keep your logo from being too busy. A busy logo, or any graphic or document that is too busy increases cognitive load. This means the consumer associates frustration with a busy logo.

So, keep the logo clean and don't try to jam too many messages into the space.

Keep It Simple

Margins and negative space can help keep your logo clean, but you should also not try to do too much. Great logos, especially in the restaurant industry are all simple.

By making a logo simple it helps customers recall the logo and of course your brand. Our minds have a limited ability to recall what we see. For example, you should limit items you want a customer to recall to between 5 and 8 items. Anymore and the odds of metal recall diminish quickly.

Seigle+Gale did a study using around 1000 participants. A finding they made is simpler logos were not only easier to remember but more interesting.

Siegel+Gale found that consumers were 13% more interested in simple, memorable logos than they were by more complicated ones.

The best example of McDonald's. The logo, just an M. You can't get simpler than that!

When you can’t justify the presence of an element in logo design, it’s time to remove it. Keep in mind that the final creation doesn’t have to reflect your brand’s entire functioning. For instance, a fast food brand doesn’t have to show food in its logo (Pizza Hut, KFC, etc.).

Tell a Story

If you are really good with design you can tell a story. In many cases most consumers may never know the back story to the logo, but it can create dialog among super fans.

Just the addition of 'I'm Loving It' to the McDonald's logo sparked online discussions about proper grammar.

Starbucks
Starbucks

The Starbucks logo uses the image of a mermaid inspired from Greek mythology and Moby Dick. He name is 'Pequad', the name of Moby Dick's first mate.

The Starbucks logo has all sorts of story behind it, which helps build the brand, not that the company needs any help! The story is all hidden in the mermaid. Starbucks uses the mystique of their logo to further engage their patrons.

Use Hidden Meanings

Speaking of hidden meanings. I have already demonstrated using negative space, colors, fonts and then storytelling to convey messages. All these are ways to convey hidden meanings. But I am not done.

You can use the design to convey meaning. A popular example is the Subway logo.

Subway
Subway

Their logo is bookended by arrows. The arrows are meant to convey entering and exiting a subway station.

Like Amazon, IHOP also underlines their name with a smile to convey happiness.

IHOP
IHOP

Chipotle's chili is there to provide context to the name, an odd word to the average American. The chili conveys Mexican food and provides context to their name.

Chipotle
Chipotle

Finally, one of my favorite logos, Chick-Fil-A.

Chick-Fil-A
Chick-Fil-A

Of course their is the use of the chicken in the C, but there is more. A key part of their branding strategy is their clean stores and top notch service, something they equate as A+ service.

The A conveys that part of the Chick-Fil-A experience, top notch service and experience.

Summary

Your logo may be the most important part of your branding strategy. Customers will see your logo more than your menu in most cases. It needs to convey your brand image, quality and evoke emotions to keep your customers coming back to dine with you.

Remember your logo will be displayed in many locations, hopefully this includes your customer's homescreen after they install your progressive web app.

Chose an appropriate color, font, icons, negative space and copy to represent what your restaurant is all about.

There are many services that can create your logo. Some are free and many low cost. In many cases these services can be all you need to craft a great logo for your restaurant. Of course, if you don't feel comfortable with the process you can hire a professional, be prepared to pay a more than one of the online services.

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