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How to Make a Deli Logo

Nick PerryAuthor

Why is a deli logo important?

Sandwich shops and delis are some of the most popular restaurant business models around. There’s a good reason for that. Not only do people love sandwiches, but delis are less expensive to open than a restaurant (which usually starts at $175,000), and average significantly higher revenues than the typical restaurant ($120,000 - $350,000 vs. $111,860 per year). The average deli owner makes about $52,000 in profit per year, which is just a little lower than the national mean salary.

But with so many options around, delis are a bit more competitive than the average restaurant. And while the quality of your food is always paramount, your marketing and branding can make a big difference. You need to incorporate branding into your deli business plan, and one of the easiest ways to hone your brand and stand out in the marketplace is with a deli logo.

In this article, you will learn how to make a compelling deli logo that stands out from the crowd and gets people excited to eat at your deli for lunch.

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Why is a deli logo important?

With so many sandwich shops and delis around, they all tend to blend together in the average customer’s mind. (Unless, of course, they can’t stop thinking about their last sandwich.) A logo is an easy way to build brand recognition, especially among people who haven’t become adherents to your deli yet.

If you perform a competitive analysis in your area, you might find that a few of the local sandwich shops and delis have logos, and it’s probably not a coincidence that they’re some of the more popular shops in town. A logo builds recognition, but it also creates identity with the deli’s best customers. People stan their favorite brands, and a logo is an easy way to get people excited about representing their deli, either through merch or by just getting excited to go visit the anthropomorphic rye bread.

Branding and marketing are all about finding new customers and turning existing customers into highly loyal ones. A logo is a crucial component of that strategy.

What to consider when making a deli logo

When it comes to making a deli logo, there are a few important things to keep in mind.

Budget

Opening a deli is significantly less expensive than opening a restaurant. The average deli opening costs are only $10,000 - $50,000, but between inventory, labor, and maintaining equipment, your operating costs will be consistently expensive. Finding room in the budget for a one-time deli logo design project may not always be a priority.

You have to consider how much you’re willing to spend. A typical logo design project costs anywhere between $2 and more than $2,500. It just depends on what you deem most important.

Timeline

How fast do you need your new deli logo? There’s really no right or wrong answer here. There are benefits to making a logo before you launch, shortly after you launch, or as part of a brand refresh after you’ve been going for a while. You decide when you’d like to have your new logo live.

With an online logo maker, you could create a deli logo in minutes. A designer or design agency will take between 4-6 weeks. Remember, the more hours a designer spends on a project, the more you’ll have to pay, so timeline and budget are closely related.

Customer base

Every restaurant has its target customers and an idea of how they’ll carve out their niche in the market. Those target customers are who you want to make happy with your new deli logo.

It’s important to understand what customers like about your deli in the first place. With so many sandwich shops 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 deli menus? Do a little customer research to figure out what it is they value and like about your deli, whether it’s the name, the concept, or something else you didn’t think of.

How to make a deli logo

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

Start with your brand

As we just touched on, your deli logo should be aligned with the overall branding and appeal to your customer base. When you made your deli business plan, you probably thought about this, so go back to the basics.

Ask yourself some big questions, like how you came up with your deli’s name, or your signature sandwiches. Why are you based where you’re based? How does your deli fit into the community? What’s different about how your deli operates? All of these questions will help you figure out what makes your brand different and why your logo should be, too.

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.

Importantly, you should look at some of the other deli 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 deli 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.

Designers are expensive, but they’ll work closely with you to suss out ideas, eliminate the not-so-great ones, and hone the details of your design. They’ll also give you tips on how to incorporate the new logo into your overall branding strategy, from in-house to your website.

As noted before, working with a designer may take up to six weeks, but you’ll most likely enjoy the personal touch and attention.

Do it yourself

Have an industrious spirit? Try making a logo yourself! If you have a clear vision, you might be the best person to make it a reality. The hardest part, however, will be digitizing and producing your logo design, and you may have to ask a designer for help, anyway.

This is the most time-consuming and riskiest option, but it could save you some money on a deli logo design project.

Use a template or generator

The internet is full of 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 deli 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.

After you have a draft, ask your staff, friends, and customers what they think. Invite anonymous feedback so people don’t feel bad being honest. You’ll learn a lot about your draft, and probably about your customers, too. Editing and iterating is a great way to shore up design elements that aren’t quite working, get a better idea of how your brand resonates, and go back to the drawing board with a clear mission.

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 logo?

We all have different tastes, and no logo will be universally beloved. Some people don’t like the Golden Arches, for goodness’ sake. You’re never going to make everyone happy, but a great logo is one that makes your customers happy and is interesting enough to lure a hungry new customer in off the street.

Some great examples of deli logos include:

  • Ham’s Sandwich Shop: This Minnetonka, MN deli is a little grim with its piggy logo, but it’s dang cute. And, really, you can’t say they don’t know what their customers like.

  • Mamaleh’s Delicatessen: This Cambridge, MA staple has ingeniously incorporated its happy young woman logo into its merch, to the point that you can just see the face and know delicious bagels are nearby.

  • The Deli & Company: Based in Saco, ME, The Deli & Company’s simple logo hearkens back to pioneer times, when weary travelers would wander into town looking for the nearest saloon to park their feet. That’s what Deli & Company is all about — letting you rest up and have a great sandwich.

Tips for making a great logo

Think of the following during your deli logo design process.

Make it clear and easy to read

Nobody wants to have to squint or do some mental gymnastics to figure out what the logo on the deli window is. Logos should be clear, easy to read, and obvious what they are.

Keep it true to your brand

Think of Ham’s Sandwich Shop. They sell a lot of pork products, it wouldn’t make sense for the logo to be a chicken. Your logo doesn’t have to be an homage to your sandwiches, but it certainly doesn’t hurt! As long as the logo remains true to your brand, you’re in good shape.

Make it memorable

Being memorable could mean a lot of things. Whether it’s your deli’s catchy name, a neat design element like the Arby’s cowboy hat/lasso combo, a fun character, or something else, you want to make something that people will see once and remember at least a little bit much later.

Avoid being too trendy

Many logos try to do too much. 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.

***

The cool thing about logos is that what works for one deli, might not work for another, and vice versa. Your deli logo is yours and it’s unique to your brand. That’s part of the fun of creating a deli 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.

Related Restaurant Marketing Resources

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The Ultimate Guide to Restaurant Branding

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