Get your bib, wet naps, and portable therapist’s couch – we are going out to eat and psychoanalyze 26 succulent and interesting logos designed exclusively for restaurants and eating establishments.
The premise of the The Logo Psychologist
Can you tell what a restaurant is like simply by studying the logo design? What aromas are adrift? What sounds waft through the air? What is the decor? What kind of food goes with that font? The following logos with their accompanying psychological analyses are our best shot at discerning what a restaurant might be like, simply based on a study of their logo. Can it be done? Well, the premise is this: if the logo designer has done the job right, the logo should in fact say something concrete about what lays beyond the front doors. Logo psychology plays a roll, consciously or unconsciously, in every logo design. Can you guess the prices on the menu from the color pallete of a logo (hint: more black = more $$)? Can you guess the clientele’s demographic from the amount of kerning (hint: more kerning = more $$)? I think you can venture a good guess!
Each logo is linked to the actual restaurant. So read our psychologizing, engage in your own armchair-therapy too, and click to see how close we are to the truth. If you really want to know for sure, you’ll have to visit each restaurant because we don’t have time! Please post a comment if you do :).
NOTE: We did not spend any time whatsoever at each of these restaurant websites before, during, or after our “sessions” with the respective logos. That is the fun of it, since it may be the case that we are totally off-the-mark or spot-on with our profiles. Either way, this post is about logos, not restaurants.
So join us now as I talk to, talk with, and talk at these 25 restaurant logos…
25 Mouth-Watering Restaurant Logos and Profiles
Logo Psychologist responds: “Hmmm…I’ll have an Americano after dinner at Americano! Maybe even a latte…I love the understated, elegant, and authoritative simplicity. When I come in the front door, I expect a casual, confident greeting. I know the typography of your menu is going to be great. There must be tiramisu for dessert. Fox News or CNN? Fox News for sure. I expect to see some cool black and white enlargements of NCY skyline, and maybe LA too. I get a great, confident vibe. You know exactly what you are doing, so I’ll just let you have at it!”
Logo Psychologist responds: “I can taste the cardamom already. This classy logo type has me sold. But wait, my reservations were for 3 people, not 2. No, we need a bigger table. I hope you don’t forget any more details!…(20 minutes later)…Well, it’s obviously quite popular, but the ice in my drink was melted before I got it…(20 minutes later)…Wow – that was worth the wait. But man, I wish I had ice in that drink! I think we’ll be back – on a slower night!”
Logo Psychologist responds: “This is the ‘Futura’ of cuisine in Australia. I’m all intimidated though. I just know there are going to be big words, maybe something in Finnish, on the menu. I feel dumb already, but I want to be smart so I’ll just suck it up and go in. Ah…roasted red pepper sauce with sauteed shrimp pizza! I can do that! And the presentation was minimal if not beautiful. Those IKEA chairs need cushions though. If I was more comfortable, I’d do some Sambuca after dinner, but the backside says ‘let’s go…'”
Logo Psychologist responds: “One look at the logotype and mark and I’m excited to go in. I have no clue what to expect, but whatever it is, it’s an original take on time-honored European classic dishes, Western of course. Well, North Western. Lot’s of meat dishes on the menu tonight, and always. German potato salad no doubt. Wow, and huge selection of local microbrews! Interesting – this use of a customized Helvetica paired with that ever-so-slightly Parisian fluer-de-lise inspired mark gives me a very distinct impression that a great marriage of old culinary traditions with new is going on here. Maybe you are a bit distant, lacking in warm fuzzies, but you certainly make up for it in competence and execution!”
Logo Psychologist responds: “This is going to be a personal experience! Cool – I like the mismatched interior. It kind of all matches because nothing matches. The handwritten style menu is very cool. You cultivate a personal and friendly ethos very well. I love the open kitchen idea – shows that you are confident and open. You are into what you do with a passion, and don’t give a hoot if I give you 4 golden spoons or a rubber chicken. However, I have utterly no clue what to expect. Not pizza. Maybe interesting soups, salads, and crazy customized deli sandwiches? With homemade kettle chips? Probably. I think the logomark could use a lot more color. It’s really a kind of washed out gray. I could see a stronger khaki, a brown, or an Army green.”
Logo Psychologist responds: “No doubt, there will be no ice cream after. Because their will be no room for ice cream after. I bet they don’t sell dessert at all. Hmmm. Looks like the weight of the “g” should have been increased to offset the reduction in size from the “b”. Either way, this is a great, bold, strong, clear mark. No questions about what they do and in what manner they do it. Excellent branding!”
Logo Psychologist responds: “I can taste the cinnamon, but I can see the bing. Not sure which one came first…But this logo makes me want to order a Chocolate Martini, or maybe a shot of Peppermint Schnapps. I’m a fan of bold and understated, and I think they achieved that quite nicely. I hope the music isn’t too loud, and the giant plasma screen isn’t too loud or playing a sports channel. The menu is big. The tables are big and spacious. However, there isn’t an overwhelming amount of items on the menu. You do a few things really, really well. And the leather booths and lighting are great. I want to stay and spend some $ at the bar after dinner.”
Logo Psychologist responds: “This logo just has a chocolaty, drippy goodness to it. I’m sure there is a gourmet cheesecake in the house, but with some kind of cool twist to it. Hmm…the descender on the “g” in “graham” is not happy. Too tight. He needs a bigger location to fulfill his culinary vision. What a friendly place! What a great, innovative take on chicken soup – you made it gourmet! Fresh bread, fresh baked good. I think I might want to skip right to dessert with a black cup of French Roast. I think though, a bit more time could be spent connecting the ‘g’ to the top of the ‘e’ where the transition skips just a tad. My eye goes right there, and I don’t want it to.”
Logo Psychologist responds: “I can hear it now: ‘How much is the special?’, and in reply, ‘If you have to ask, you can’t afford it…’. This is a forceful and classy mark. Paired with Trajan, it’s unstoppable. But, if everyone keeps loving Trajan (or a Trajan like cousin typeface) this way, soon no one will. Actually, I don’t even bother pulling up. I think you are supposed to wear a suit to go in there. I don’t eat dinner in a suit. Can’t do it. But for those that do, and live that kind of life, this is your place. Your Lear Jet will get you there on time, so don’t worry. Us riff-raff type won’t be visible. We’ll be at Taco Bell, or maybe just washing dishes somewhere, way out of the way. Even if my Lear Jet was out of the shop (it’s in for its 5000 hours of flight checkup), there would still be things on the menu with names that intimidate me. Your mark is beautiful, but out of my league forever. Did you see the diamonds on that woman that just walked in the door? Wow!”
Logo Psychologist responds: “Someone loves what they do, and they make me love what they do too. What a spritely, clear, and joyful mark. I bet the chef comes out and make small talk after the rush peaks. MMMM…those were the most original, big, bready noodles I’ve ever had. Everything is just right, balanced just so. You take the ordinary and make it exciting – just a little bit on the edge! The modified Futura with it’s clean lines works just great. If the colors moved a bit warmer towards brown or red, away from mud gray, I think it would be that much better. Just a dash though.”
Logo Psychologist responds: “This just has a cool edge too it. I expect a tin drop ceiling and Art Nouveau accoutrements. I do expect crazy pasta dishes for some reason. Something with sun-dried tomatoes. This little mark has a lot of class and personality. What is Art Deco cuisine like?”
Logo Psychologist responds: “I bet killer fresh-mint stuffed grape leaves are on the menu. And maybe a lemon-chicken soup with capers. This logo says so much with so little. Let me in! Ouch though…those wrought iron chairs are great for outside, but not for an extended dinner. But hey, you are so classy and tasty, I’ll be back for sure. With friends.”
Logo Psychologist responds: “I have to say that the designer of this logotype took the I-know-let’s-scan-in-a-coffee-stain and put-it-in-our-website-background to make-us-look-earthy-and-cool-cuz-no-one-thought-of-that-yet and has done something that makes me think they are cool because no one thought to put a coffee stain in a logomark, that I know if. I think it works great! If there is free wi-fi, I’m there. All. The. Time. Oh no, too cool – open mic every thursday, but you have to sign up in advance. That keeps the riff-raff down. Perfect! The descender playfulness is great. ‘Coffee and more’ could be a bit more pronounced though.”
Logo Psychologist responds: “This logo just has a certain old-school previous-generation feel to it. I can see the “Gus & Paul’s Bakery” logo, the establishment on the corner for decades, sitting right next to this. A guy named Vinny patronizes both places. This logo feels like old World class come state-side. However, when I look at the ladies hand and the strange shape beneath her, everything starts getting skewed. There is a strange, ambiguous, incomplete feel to the drawing which the more I look at it, there more I feel unsettled. A bit creepy, actually. Am I missing something?”
Logo Psychologist responds: “Original, pithy, punchy, but it’s impossible to find a parking spot on campus to actually get in this place. It’s a little bloated, a little ponderous for a tea shop. Maybe it’s because they sell those poppyseed muffins that are like 9 parts oil, 1 part flour, and 5 parts sugar. I like those – once a year. This is the place everyone wants to hang out but no one can because it’s small and everyone is always in there.”
Logo Psychologist responds: “This image is oozing fragrance. I can taste a crazy mixture of spices, with a little kick, that I never would think of putting together. The typeface needs to be roughened up though. Hmmm…what an odd layout of tables. We are kind of cramped. I don’t like when I pay good money for food but don’t have privacy. Maybe it’s cultural? Once the food got to the table though, we didn’t care how cramped we were, it was that good. But you know, there is a lack of synergy in this logo. The typeface and the illustration aren’t connecting. Smooth and rough just kind of sitting next to each other. They don’t speak to each other.”
Logo Psychologist responds: “You are going to put something on my plate I don’t recognize, and I might try it. If it’s slightly gelatinous and gray with faint stripes, I will not try it. But I can tell there is something bold, raw, fresh, and exciting lurking somewhere. But you know what, my eye darts around this logo a bit. I just now figured out that the 2 slashes are a capital ‘L’, I think. Or it’s a lowercase ‘l’ with a slash beneath it. Ok. What is the gray puff of smoke? Is it a candle? The more I look at this the less I understand it. It makes me think too hard. But maybe it’s just me. Why the tiny gray text? It’s kind of small set next to the large purple type. Is it an afterthought, or an incomplete aspect of the dining experience? Wait, I’m the Logo Psychologist and I’m supposed to be doing the thinking. I think you have a bit of cognizant dissonance going on. Think about and check back next week. Cut 50% of your menu out and bring a revised copy. We’ll discuss.”
Logo Psychologist responds: “Here, we will experience vegetarian dining with a rare, refined sensibility. I hope it’s not BYOB. I’ll have a Leinenkugel Amber with that! I just bet that you have both daily gaspacho made fresh, and a BBQ tempeh sandwich that is a staple on lunch menu. Yes. Nicely done. And whole grain mini-loafs baked fresh and brought to each table to appease them after having waited 20 minutes to get a seat at lunch! Nice move. I will be back, but I’ll be here by 11:40 to beat the lunch rush. Is it legal for servers to wear that much jewelry and serve food? Eh, it’s kind of cool. You know exactly what experience you are trying to create, and you do it. And your customers gladly pay up. You know that too. The wheat / fork idea is just perfect. Clever and well done by all counts. You don’t need my help. Adieu!”
Logo Psychologist responds: “I would expect a niche menu, simple and straight-forward. Each dish is a refined masterpiece of elegance and function. The gray-green is just a touch muddy. Like, it really looks like mud a bit. I would have leaned a bit more towards a warm color to saturate the logo with. Remember, cool blues and food don’t mix. You want warm colors here. I like the spacing between the elements. Very confident and balanced.”
Logo Psychologist responds: “For some reason, I expect Julia Child to have eaten here. Or perhaps some other cable TV gourmet gormandizer. Maybe we tried a little too hard on this logo. All the line-business. Not sure it works. Not sure I needed to try pureed spiced goose liver pate either – it’s just too much, at least for me. Is everything greasy? What’s that film all over the type and the illustrations? Kind of like you didn’t clean it off, several times in a row. I think we could clean this up and simplify it. Ah, you know what, I think I’ll pass on this, unless I meet someone who has personally been here and gives it a big thumbs up. I’m holding out for surprise good review.”
Logo Psychologist responds: “I wonder if they have a wait staff. I’ll take good notes. The aroma is sharp but the sparkling water is flat. The order came out in triple time. The bar connects the interior space, but I take note of a few dotted character who are grouped together, slurring. The logomark looks like Jazz notation to me. But it says ‘music’. Is it Jazz or Classical or a mix? Hmm. Now wait. Just how do you pronounce this? However you say it, I like it.”
Logo Psychologist responds: “Ok, this mark get’s a poor mark. For such an old place in a great European city, why did they have to create their logo in Power Point with the typeface ‘Mistral’. I hope the dining experience isn’t as cliched, unthought-out, and perfunctory as their logotype is. Really. Hire a logo designer for 5 minutes and we’ll get this to a better place.”
Logo Psychologist responds: “I like the interplay and implied, custom, sophistication of mixing upper and lowercase in the logotype. It’s easy to get that wrong by not balancing out the weight of the lines. However, it seems they have thought of everything. There is a decidedly European attention to detail that impresses me. Am I smart enough to eat here though? Maybe I’ll go with a friend.”
Logo Psychologist responds: “Hmmm. I have no idea what to expect. This is the only logo on the list that doesn’t seem to hit me in the tastebuds. It looks more like a product logo than a restaurant. It looks like it belongs on something mass produced. You aren’t going to try and pull one of those $12.95 chicken sandwiches on me that is really a $5.95 chicken sandwich except for the fact that you have cool menus, are you? Also, snowflakes and warm colors seem like a contradiction. I’m conflicted. 5 Stars for logo design, indeed, but it this logo looks more like a cool Mac wallpaper than a restaurant. Now that I think about it, this reminds me of those rip-off holiday gifts that Starbucks makes you wade through before you can get to the barrista. But I think it made people annoyed and they curbed it back a bit.”
Logo Psychologist responds: “This logo is odd. It looks like Animal the Muppet is hanging out next to the logotype. Or is that a fountain? Wait, It’s a Weeping Cherry. No, wait (slaps head), it’s a Willow. Hmm. Poorly executed logomark. Slightly poorly executed logotype. I can’t tell if it’s really hand scripted or if it’s a tweaked font. Looks more like a tweaked font. Based on the logo, I’d guess I was going to get either 1) a Cheeseburger on fancy china, or 2) something exotic and perfectly executed on a plastic tray. Also, why so much space after ‘The’?”
Logo Psychologist responds: “Whatever it is tonight, it’s gonna be classy, tasty, and expensive. I will not soon forget this dining experience! Classic Bodoni-inspired typeface in the tagline, set with a classy Art Deco ‘Anna’ or something close up top. Definitely big band pre-bop Jazz going on inside. Maybe even live! A Bodoni-like font in a restaurant logo is a class act all the way. What a great typeface pair, now that I look at it.”