When it comes to first impressions, we can all agree it’s important to put your best foot forward. Well, in the context of your business, that foot is your restaurant logo.
Restaurant logos are a visual representation of a restaurant’s brand. They give potential customers an at-a-glance look at your concept, vision, and values.
(So they’re kind of a big deal.)
In this article, we’ll break down what a restaurant logo is, the qualities of an effective restaurant logo, and some of the coolest logos that will inspire your own design efforts.
What Is a Restaurant Logo?
A restaurant logo is a symbol made up of text and/or images that helps the public identify a business.
But a logo is also so much more.
That singular little graphic needs to be eye-catching enough to attract people’s attention while also managing to convey your restaurant’s ethos, cuisine, and all-around vibe. The logo will live on everything from your restaurant menu to your business cards, signage, takeout containers, uniforms, website, social media, and more. It will follow you – and hopefully your customers – around every day.
What we’re trying to say is that investing in good restaurant logo design is going to be a key ingredient in your recipe for success.
6 Qualities of Effective Restaurant Logo Design
There are six essential elements to consider when designing or redesigning your restaurant logo.
The best logos are the ones that give the viewer an immediate sense of who “you” are. Keep it clean, simple, and uncluttered. Less is more, and simplicity packs the strongest punch. Besides all of this, remember that your logo will live on a variety of media in a variety of sizes, so you’ll even need to keep the details at a minimum so your logo can properly scale to smaller sizes.
Make color work to your advantage. Read a little about color theory so you know what’s good. Use colors that are known to evoke an emotion you want your future customers to experience when they think of your brand. Are you a health food brand? Maybe you want to incorporate a lot of greens in your logo to keep things fresh.
Your logo might live on something as small as a pen or as large as a highway billboard. Make sure the details of your logo are visible and clear, no matter what size surface. Whether you’re working with a designer or on your own, you’ll want to design your logo with the help of design grids so that it doesn’t get stretched or distorted when you enlarge or shrink it.
4. Adaptability to black and white
Maybe you’re planning to advertise your business in your local paper or throw a community event that you promote via leaflet or poster that doesn’t support color. Either way, you’ll want to make sure our logo packs just as much punch in black and white as it does in color.
Your logo is a tiny, versatile piece of art. Make it one that will stick in people’s minds, help them remember you. The best way to make your logo design memorable is to be unique. In other words, choose shapes and graphics that are original and don’t call to mind another known brand.
You don’t want to have to rebrand every other year, for a number of reasons (cost, time, and brand recognition, to name a few). So when you do design your restaurant logo, think big picture and make it a logo that can last.
A well-designed restaurant logo will set you up to stand out from the crowd and differentiate you from your competitors.
An important step in designing your logo will be sound competitive analysis, so that your logo design is unique within your community. Competitive analysis is also a great way to learn from your competition’s design choices, i.e., what did the owners of the vegan health food truck down the street do to set themselves apart from the slew of other vegan restaurants in your city?
21 of the Coolest Restaurant Logos We’ve Ever Seen
They say inspiration leads to innovation, so we’ve put together a list of our favorite restaurant logos to inspire you as you create the world’s coolest logo.
1. El Toro Nightclub, [in concept only]
The font alone on this one would be a strong logo, but the image of the bull could also be used as a recognizable stand-alone icon if needed for smaller print items like pens or buttons.
2. Otto Café [concept only]
There’s something really satisfying and bold about a really nice typeface and neutral color palette.
3. Nelmare Sushi [concept only]
Self-explanatory in its simplicity, this sushi restaurant’s logo gets straight to the point without being too obvious.
4. Black Duck Café and Bakery [concept only]
Sticking to black and white can save you a lot of money and headaches when it comes to advertising your business and printing materials. It also just looks so classy.
5. Playa Taco & Tequila Bar [concept only]
When a logo makes you think about which cocktail you’d be willing to drink forever if you were stranded on a desert island with only a bartender, you know it’s doing something right.
6. Centro Pizzeria [concept only]
Centro Pizzeria nailed the strategic color choices with this simple, yet eye-catching, orange logo.
7. Yolk Breakfast Backyard & Bar [Oklahoma City, Oklahoma]
We have visions of rubber-stamped takeout containers dancing in our heads with this one.
8. Leafy Fresh [Los Angeles, California]
It’s not hard to imagine just how healthy and refreshing the food at this place must be with their strategically designed restaurant name and logo.
9. La Brea Meat & Wine [concept only]
Sometimes all you need are a couple of classic fonts to make your logo stand out.
10. Moonshine Bar & Restaurant [concept only]
The designer behind the Moonshine logo had a little fun playing around with the imagery of a drink paired with the shape of a moon.
11. Wells Coffee [Boca Raton, Florida]
If your restaurant has a catchy and succinct slogan, your logo is a great place to include it.
12. George Washington Bar [New York City, New York]
As simple as it gets, and oh so enticing.
13. Tastyburgers [concept only]
Sometimes your name and logo are so literal, it’s impossible to misunderstand what your restaurant is all about.
14. The Smoking Bird [concept only]
While the world of design can seem like it’s all classy typefaces and icon imagery, your logo should reflect your restaurant’s vibe. If you’re a family chicken joint, make your logo fun and friendly like your restaurant is.
15. Tucana Coffee [Toronto, Ontario]
The logo on its own may not make all that much sense, but it matches the place’s decor in their tiki-esque floral wallpaper and year-round summertime vibes.
16. The Tower [concept only]
The earth tones and corporate building in this logo tell you it would be a good place to take a client.
This logo incorporates three important elements: interesting fonts, a stylized name, and a slogan that describes what you can expect to eat if you come for dinner.
18. BayTree Restaurant [London, UK]
We’re feeling refreshed after looking at this leafy green logo design.
19. FourPeaks Brewing Company [Phoenix, Arizona]
A little pride in where you’re from never hurts. It also makes it a lot easier to sell branded merchandise to proud locals and tourists alike.
20. Pappa’s Pizza [concept only]
The colors and clever way this designer incorporated the food Pappa’s serves into the logo are both winning design elements.
21. Café Montmartre [Vilinius, Lithuania]
Finally, we take you to the streets of old Paris (but you have to say it with a French accent), where this logo designer borrowed from iconic Parisian imagery to create a logo that speaks to the inspiration behind this café.
How to Get Help Designing Your Restaurant Logo
There are a number of ways to approach your logo design depending on your needs, vision, and – of course – your budget. You can either design a logo on your own or hire a designer to do it for you.
Here are some options and what they involve.
We live in an age when there are online tools to help with just about everything under the sun. Logo design is no exception.
Looka: With plans ranging from $20 to $85, this is a great online tool for customizing templated logo designs.
Canva: Canva is a free tool, as long as you work with your own images and design elements. If you decide to purchase elements from their library, the cost varies but remains relatively low.
LogoMakr: LogoMakr is free to use and has an extensive database of graphics to help you design a logo that works for your brand.
Logaster: This free online tool helps small businesses to create a logo, business card, letterhead, social media images, and other designs in minutes.
Work with a Logo Designer: How to Find One
Google is a decent go-to reference, but will only generate designers with great SEO. Blogs, Pinterest, and Instagram are excellent resources for design. You can search hashtags and follow along with logo aggregate accounts. The algorithms on social will catch on to what you’re up to after a while and will start pulling similar designers into your feed.
Here are a few of our favorite sources to browse through designers:
To get the right logo for your restaurant, you can evoke a sense of mystery through a logo like George Washington Bar’s or get straight to the point with one more inspired by Tastyburger’s.
Either way, the important thing is to make sure your logo is communicating what your restaurant is all about: what you serve, how it feels to sit in your dining room, whom you might consider going there with, and a general idea of how much you’re likely to spend.
These are all things that can be conveyed through font choice, imagery choices, slogan use, and all of the other design elements mentioned throughout this list.
Dana is the former Content Marketing Manager at TouchBistro, sharing tips for and stories of restaurateurs turning their passion into success. She loves homemade hot sauce, deep fried pickles and finding excuses to consume real maple syrup.