The bar industry is more competitive than ever these days — especially in the sports bar niche as independent bars are forced to continually innovate to keep up with the big national chains. From offering non-alcoholic beers to incorporating more technology into operations, there are myriad trends sports bars are adopting to stay on the cutting edge.
A sports bar marketing strategy is crucial to stand out from the crowd, but when you consider that it costs an average of $400,000 to open a sports bar, it’s fair to wonder how marketing will play into your budget. The average restaurant spends about 3-10% of its operating budget on marketing, but it’s all about getting the most bang for your buck.
Some marketing initiatives are more profitable than others, and making a sports bar logo is one of the more efficient projects you can undertake. It’s an easy way to overhaul your branding and create lasting connections with your customers and community.
In this article, you will learn how to make a sports bar logo that stands out from the crowded sports bar scene and gets your customers excited.
Why is a sports bar logo important?
The sports bar scene is even more competitive than typical bars given how many national chains there are. In any given metro, there may be multiple small sports bars, as well as a chain or two. Finding a way to differentiate is crucial. A logo is an easy way to build brand recognition in the community and inspire a sense of loyalty to keep people coming back to your sports bar.
When you perform competitive analysis in the area, you might find that logos aren’t particularly common among smaller sports bars. But the national chains have logos for a reason. You want your brand to be recognizable and to stir something in existing customers as well as new ones. A logo is a great first step to building that brand.
What to consider when making a sports bar logo
There are a few important things to keep in mind when making your sports bar logo.
Given how expensive it is to start a sports bar, budget will be top of mind when making a sports bar logo. A logo design project shouldn’t have a significant impact on your monthly profit margin.
A logo design project can cost next to nothing, or it can be a somewhat significant one-time expense. On average a sports bar logo design project will cost between $2 to more than $2,500 depending on how you go about it. That range gives you options.
Your budget and timeline will be directly related. Basically, the longer you work on the project, the more you’ll pay. Really, it depends on how eager you are to incorporate a logo into your brand, who you want to pay to make the logo for you, and how much you’re willing to spend.
Creating a logo with an online tool could take a couple of minutes. If you enlist a designer or design agency, it could take 4 to 6 weeks, and the bill will add up as the designer works longer hours on your project.
You’re making your logo for your target customers, so it’s crucial to think about how to encapsulate them with your sports bar logo. Make sure you understand what it is that people like most about your bar, whether it’s the name, the general concept, or certain menu items like your killer wings.
Your frequent customers are the most important element of your branding, and it’s your job to make sure any marketing appeals to them as well as new customers.
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How to make a sports bar logo
Every logo design project will be a little different, but this general guide can assist help you your sports bar logo design project.
Start with your brand
When you were making your business plan or building your sports bar website, you thought about and honed your brand a lot. But it may have been a while since you thought about it practically. Every day you’re operating, you’re showcasing your brand to the world, but it’s not always easy to turn those everyday operations into a logo representation of your brand.
So, ask some big questions about your brand. How did you come up with your sports bar name or the names of menu items? How do you fit into the community? How is your sports bar different from every other sports bar? These questions will help you figure out the most elements of your brand.
Build your vision
Get creative! Sketch out your rough ideas or articulate them to someone with a little more artistic talent. You could even use an online logo maker to test out a few buzz terms and see what it churns out. You might find some great inspiration from the maker’s AI.
Remember to look at national logos, too, not just for inspiration, but to make sure you aren’t subconsciously chasing an idea that’s already been done.
Choose a logo design avenue
After you’ve considered your brand and sketched out some ideas, you may have a decent idea of what you’re looking for. Now it’s time to actually do the project. There are a few avenues you could take.
Hire a professional graphic designer
A professional graphic designer could cost $24/hour or more depending on your location, but it’s the most bespoke option for your sports bar logo design project. A designer can help you flesh out ideas, throw out bad ones, and teach you how to effectively incorporate your logo into your branding — especially if your sports bar has been around for a while.
Do it yourself
If you have a clear vision and some artistic talent, do it yourself! You know what you’re looking for and if you can create it, why not save some money? You might still have to consult a designer to digitize and produce your logo, but that will be less expensive than paying them to ideate and create the logo themselves.
Use a template or generator
The internet is full of logo generators like Canva, Looka, and Themeisle Logo Maker that utilize artificial intelligence to create original logos based on just a few inputs. All you have to do is type in an idea and let the generator work, or use one of their templates to hone your sports bar logo design.
These only options are much cheaper and faster than professional designers, but you won’t retain the same level of control over minute aspects of the logo. And they won’t really help you fine-tune your best ideas.
Edit and iterate (and get other people’s opinions!)
Sure, you have great taste, but before you release your sports bar logo to the world, make sure everyone likes it as much as you do. The best restaurant logos weren’t created overnight on their first attempt. Your first draft might be in a great place, but make sure to get feedback from employees, friends, and customers to iterate and make the logo the best it can be. After all, it’s going to represent your brand for a long time to come.
Copyright and trademark
Always trademark a logo design project. You don’t want copycats or knock-offs cheapening your brand. You can easily apply for a trademark via the United States’ Patent Office (USPO), or hire a one-off service like LegalZoom to handle the copyrighting process.
What makes a great logo?
A great logo to one person may not be a great logo to another. You’re never going to make everyone happy. That said, take inspiration from some of these sports bar logos:
Buffalo Wild Wings: It’s one of the world’s biggest sports bars in part because it has one of the most recognizable logos around. The flying buffalo is the perfect encapsulation of what Buffalo Wild Wings does best: Fun and wings.
Monkey Business Sports Bar: This Phillipines sports bar’s monkey logo just looks like one of the guys you’d see sitting around the bar. It’s fun, but it’s practical and it resonates.
The Fours: One of the Boston area’s oldest sports bars, The Fours speaks to that history with its Casey at the Bat logo and subtle baseball diamond frame.
Tips for making a great logo
Think of the following during your sports bar logo design process.
Make it clear and easy to read
One thing all of the sports bar logos in the previous section have in common is that the business names are easy to read. Buffalo Wild Wings may be an exception, but it’s one of the biggest brands in the country — if you get that big, you might not need text. Regardless, the point is clear: If you’re using a character or different design elements, make sure it’s clear what they are.
Keep it true to your brand
Sports bars are all about fun first, right? So don’t be afraid to have a little fun with your logo. Just make sure a logo is true to your brand, whether that’s an homage to a menu item, some kind of sports attire, or a funny nod to your customer base like Monkey Business.
Make it memorable
The best thing a logo can do is stick in people’s minds after they see it just once. That’s not easy to do, but fun characters, catchy names, or neat design elements like The Fours’ diamond frame and classic font are good ways to elicit a reaction in customers’ minds.
Avoid being too trendy
There are some sports bars out there that are trying to be trendy to attract a broader clientele. That’s fine, but the average sports bar should strive for the opposite. Usually, people are coming to sports bars for beer, wings, and a game. Those are timeless activities, so make sure your logo is timeless, as well.
A logo is a simple encapsulation of your entire brand mission. It’s your story captured in an image, which is why there isn’t really a “right” or “wrong” logo for a specific industry. It’s all about what works for your business and resonates with your customers. This guide will at least help you navigate the process of identifying what works best for your brand.
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