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How to Make a Bar Logo

Aimee LevittAuthor

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Why is a bar logo important?

Before a customer even opens the door to your bar, they have yet to see your meticulously restored wooden bar or the intimate little tables, or meet your pleasant and knowledgeable bartenders and servers, or hear your perfectly curated playlist, or check out the menu of carefully chosen beers, wines, and spirits. However, what they do see is your logo.

The logo is the visual symbol of your business, the thing that introduces it to the world and welcomes customers in. It’s important to get it right.

In this article, we'll cover all the steps to creating a bar logo to help you stand out from the competition. 

Why is a bar logo important?

A bar logo brands your business. It draws in potential customers and tells them what you’re all about, before they even come inside. It distinguishes you from the competition. And you can put it everywhere, from your front signage to your social media to your business cards to the front of the menu and souvenir t-shirts. A good logo builds loyalty toward your business.

What to consider when making a bar logo

Before diving into the fun part of logo design, there are a few important factors to consider:

Budget

A good logo doesn’t have to be expensive — unless you want it to be. But, like everything else in your start-up plan, you should determine ahead of time how much you’re willing to spend on it. Independent contractors can charge anywhere from $25 to $100 an hour, while an agency can charge a set fee.

Timeline

If you do decide to hire a professional to make your bar logo u, get a quote before they start the work, including an estimate of how long the process will take. A good custom logo can take 3 - 6 weeks to finish, with several steps in between. 

Customer base

Before you start work on your logo, determine who you want your customer base to be. A wine bar will attract different customers than a cocktail bar, a dive, or a microbrewery. Consider the age of your potential customers, how much you expect them to spend, and the immediate location. 

It’s important to understand what customers like about your bar in the first place. With so many bars to choose from, why do they keep coming back to yours? Sure, they probably love what’s on the menu, but how is your menu different from other bar menus? Do a little customer research to figure out what it is they value and like about your bar, whether it’s the name, the concept, or something else you didn’t think of.

All that will influence the key elements of the logo, including color, font, and artwork.

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The Ultimate Guide to Restaurant Branding

Use this guide to get tips on how to create a restaurant brand that stands out, attracts customers, and drives repeat visits.

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How to make a bar logo

Not sure how to start your bar logo design project? Here’s a guide.

Start with your brand

The key to creating a logo for your bar is knowing exactly what your brand is and what image you want to present to the world. Start by identifying your restaurant’s mission, vision, and values. Think about the mark you want your bar to make on the world, and in your target customer’s lives. Bars, like people, have personalities. 

Is your bar bubbly or serious or sporty? Once you determine these things, it will be easier to design a logo that fits.

Build your vision

As you get ideas, sketch them out, or ask someone with more artistic talent to sketch them out. You can also use an online logo maker to throw some ideas and inspiration out and see what the AI comes up with. Even if you do end up hiring a professional, it’s always good to come in with elements you’d like to include, like colors, images, or favorite fonts.

Importantly, you should look at some of the other bar logos around town to make sure you aren’t infringing. It’s also a good way to identify design elements you like, from characters and fonts to colors that you think resonate with your brand.

Choose a logo design avenue

When you’re ready to start your bar logo design project, it’s time to revisit those earlier considerations. You have a few options when it comes to a logo design project.

Hire a professional graphic designer

Professional designers will charge at least an hourly rate of $24 or more depending on where you’re located, while agencies charge even more than that.

If you have no artistic ability, this is probably the best way to go, though it’s also the most expensive. If another local business has a logo you admire, it’s worth asking for the name of the designer. Otherwise, graphic designers are available for hire through freelance services such as Upwork or Fiverr, crowdsourcing sites such as 99designs or DesignCrowd, or design agencies.

Do it yourself

If you have the design chops, go ahead and do it yourself. You can find plenty of design programs online for free, or for the cost of a temporary license. Among the most popular are Adobe Illustrator and Canva. When you design your own logo, make sure it will let you export a high-resolution digital version and, if you’re planning on using it on paper, a CMYK version for the printer.  

Use a template or generator

The internet is full of bar logo generators, like Canva, Looka, and Themeisle Logo Maker, that utilizes artificial intelligence to create a variety of original logos based on a few inputs. You can also work off templates to create the right bar logo for your business.

These tools are cheaper and faster than professional designers, but they won’t have the same capacity for nuance or the flexibility to try out different ideas and make subtle adjustments.

Edit and iterate (and get other people’s opinions!) 

William Faulkner described writing as rewriting. Such is the case with design, too. You’re probably not going to make a perfect logo on your first try. Even if you love it, you have to make sure your customers do, too. All the best restaurant logos got customer approval before going live.

It is always wise, no matter who is designing your logo, to take some time to sleep on various iterations of your design to make sure you like it and that it effectively communicates your brand. A good graphic designer will show you mockups at various states of the process so you can make tweaks before settling on a final version. Also, show it to people you trust: they may see some potentially embarrassing flaw that might have slipped right past you.

Copyright and trademark

When you have a completed final draft that you love, make sure to trademark it so that nobody can rip off your idea. Apply to the United States Patent Office (USPO) through your legal representation, or hire a one-off service like LegalZoom to handle the process if you don’t have an attorney.

What makes a great bar logo?

A great logo is, above all, communicates your brand in the simplest, most memorable way possible. It should be appropriate to your business: you don’t want your bar to be mistaken for a toy store. It should be timeless so it won’t go out of date within a year; if you’re going to invest so much time in your logo, you want it to last for as long as your business does. A great logo is also versatile. It looks good on your signage, social media, business napkins, and bar napkins, and it looks just as good in black and white as it does in full color.

Tips for making a great logo

Think of the following during your bar logo design process.

Make it clear and easy to read

The logo doesn’t have to have your bar name in it, but customers should be able to see it and understand what it means. It takes just a split second to process a logo, which is why it’s so important to get it absolutely right.

Keep it true to your brand

Your logo is often the first thing potential customers see, so make sure it reflects what your bar is really like. If you don’t offer cocktails, don’t disappoint martini-lovers with an image of a martini glass in your logo, even if you think it looks cool.

Make it memorable

Being memorable could mean a lot of things. Whether it’s your bar's catchy name, a neat design element, a fun character, or something else, you want to make something that people will see once and remember at least a little bit later.

Avoid being too trendy

A logo shouldn’t feature obscure references, use indecipherable fonts, or have headache-inducing colors just to be on trend. While you can update your logo as often as you’d like, many longstanding logos are timeless and able to endure, regardless of trends.

***

A logo is small, but it’s an incredibly powerful part of your business. It deserves as much time and care as anything else. Your bar logo is yours and it’s unique to your brand. That’s part of the fun of creating a bar logo, and why it’s such an important element of your business plan. A logo conveys your brand to the masses and builds loyalty among your best customers.

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The Ultimate Guide to Restaurant Branding

Use this guide to get tips on how to create a restaurant brand that stands out, attracts customers, and drives repeat visits.

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