Final Major Project: Restaurant Brand - Americana

Creating a branding brief for four restaurants, and developing one, Americana: Soda Bar.

Posted by Callum McMurray

Final Outcome

The final outcome for this project were brand guidelines for a fictional restaurant called 'Americana: Soda Bar.' This involved producing all the content that would be required for the brand guidelines, as well as designing the layout of the document itself.

Mockup of my Final Outcome for Project. The final outcome PDF of the Americana Brand Guidelines, which should have a layout of a cover page with facing pages but can't be viewed this way online.

Open the final outcome (Americana: Soda Bar Brand Guidelines) in a new tab here.


NLT2 - Final Major Project - Brief

In my NLT2 document my brief for this project was 'to create a brand and brand guidelines for a fictional restaurant of my creation.'

Download my Updated Negotiated Learning Task 2 by clicking here.


Creating a Brief for my Final Major Project

At the beginning of the semester I wanted to change my NLT2 project since I wasn’t interested in pursuing animation as a focus in my career. After brainstorming new projects, I narrowed my list of ideas to: ‘Alias’ beer design with my previous placement, a fantasy restaurant or using online generators to produce a unique brief.

After discussing my ideas with my lecturer, Paul, he suggested that a restaurant branding project would test my skills the most because it would require a considerable amount of content that needed to be branded. From this advice I decided to produce a brainstorm of restaurants and then pick and develop four ideas.

Brainstorm of my Initial Ideas for NLT2/Final Major Project Favoured Ideas from Brainstorm. Comments from Paul (Lecturer) about Restaurant.

Time Management

After deciding on the new NLT2 Project to pursue, I created a Gantt chart to manage my time throughout the semester. I wanted to make sure my project would be completed by the deadlines, and scheduling when each part of the project should be completed helped me do this./p> Click Here to View the Gantt Chart PDF in Full

Restaurant Branding - Creating Briefs

To brainstorm concepts, I wrote kinds of restaurants (Pizzeria, Bakery, Chip Shop) and then added a limitation or twist to it. This created a unique concepts for each restaurant, which helped me narrow down four ideas I felt had the most potential and that I would enjoy working on. The four ideas I chose to develop were a pizzeria, cafe, burger van and soda bar.

Brainstorm of Restaurant Business Ideas for Branding Development.

Design Process

Before beginning work on this project I researched forms of the design process to better understand how I can develop the final outcomes for my projects.

IDEO define the design process in 4 steps: Gather Inspiration, Generate Ideas, Make Ideas Tangible, Share the Story. Though I took lessons from this forward, I continued to research other design processes.

IDEO Design Process which can be found here.

In a post on Interaction Design Foundation by Rikke Dam and Teo Siang, they define the design process for interaction design in five steps: Empathise, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test. (2018)

Interaction Design Foundation's Design Process which can be found here.

Taking inspiration from both these sources I developed my own defined design process since the Interaction Design Foundation ‘Design Process’ was for interaction design and I wanted a process that suited my workflow.

Empathise: Define Target Audience

Define: Research Ideas and Inspiration.

Ideate: Generate Ideas with Target Audience in mind and/or implement feedback.

Develop Ideas further either in a software or in writing notes and/or implement feedback.

Gather Feedback. Can then continue to Define, Ideate, or Prototype.

Throughout this project I have indicated which stage of the design process I was working on at the points of the project it becomes relevant.


Restaurant Branding - Expanding on Businesses

Empathise: By developing the business ideas I defined the target audience for each concept.

I expanded on the four ideas to create a better sense of each business and what they would be looking for in terms of branding. This would assist me in generating content for four unique ideas to receive feedback on, and then narrow down to the 2 best options.

Each brief about the restaurants gives a: short description about the business, unique selling points, a tone of voice, a target market and competition.

Fantasy Themed Cafe and Late Night Burger Van Business Overviews and Briefs Soda Bar and Pizzeria Business Overview and Briefs

Research

Define: This part of the project I researched inspiration before I started to 'Ideate.'

After expanding the briefs, I started to do primary visual research on Pinterest by creating a ‘restaurant branding’ board looking in to similar graphic design and branding of restaurants, cafes and food products that would suit the defined target audiences for each.. This helped give me inspiration for sketching initial ideas for each restaurant business brief, and understands consistencies in the industry. Each of the businesses design inspiration was put on the initial feedback presentation with sketches.

A Link to my Restaurant Branding Inspiration Interest Board can be Found Here. Inspiration.

Restaurant Branding - Creating Names and Logo Concepts

Ideate: After researching, I began to generate ideas based on the visual research and the consumer needs.

Fresh with inspiration, I took each business idea and started to generate potential business names and logos for the brands. Each of these sketches represent one business ideas, which name concepts were created by listing words that relate to concepts about the brand and then finding synonyms that could also relate. The best combinations were then listed as my preferred ideas, and using these I sketched concepts of logos for brands with these names.

Fantasy Cafe Logo and Name Concepts Late Night Burger Van Logo and Name Concepts Soda Bar Logo and Name Concepts Pizzeria Logo and Name Concepts

Presentation and Feedback

Taking the developed sketches, I added the scans to a presentation so I could get feedback on a test. Presented my content at this point to my cohort to receive feedback.

I presented my progression of the project to my cohort and my lecturer Paul, and asked for feedback on which business ideas and sketches they thought had the most potential for further development.

The feedback I received from my cohort indicated that the business ideas I should develop were the: Soda Bar Restaurant and ‘Experience’ Pizzeria.

Each of these were responded to well, with people liking the uniqueness of the soda bar concept and the sketches for the pizzeria. My lecturer Paul offered the advice of tie the soda bar further to nostalgic America with golden age of cinema films, as well as saying I should develop the target audience into personas for each business.

Personas

Empathise: After presenting my current ideas, I was given the feedback that I should develop the target audience into persona. With my two newly defined business concepts I started the design process again.

After feedback from Paul, I decided to focus on creating personas for each business idea. Each business would have two personas, one being the primary audience and the other the secondary audience.

To understand how to effectively created personas, I researched to know what information to feature in each persona. I found ‘The Complete, Actionable Guide to Marketing Personas’ which was written by Kevin Lee and discusses details of how to create personas and details to include about them. Important details of personas were:

  • Name of the Persona
  • Job Title
    • Key information about their company (size, type, etc.)
    • Details about their role
  • Demographics
    • Age
    • Gender
    • Salary
    • Location
    • Education
    • Family
(Lee, 2015)

A link to Kevin Lee's 'Complete, Actionable Guide to Marketing Personas' can be found here.

For the pizzeria personas, the primary audience was focused on young adult men in a junior job position using takeaway food as a way to distress after a long work day or week. The secondary audience was focused on male university students and their desire to reward themselves with takeaway food after a deadline or during late night study sessions. Both these audiences have a large desire for takeaway food, and use their disposable income on it.

Pizzeria Primary Audience Persona Pizzeria Secondary Audience Persona

For the soda bar personas, the primary audience was focused on middle aged men working in a middle/senior level position that wanted to take their family to a nice treat for the weekend or holiday. The secondary audience was focused on teenage female students who would be looking for a place to hang out with their friends away from home after school or at the weekend. Both these audiences have a need for a family friendly atmosphere, and location to spend trips or time with friends or family.

Soda Bar Restaurant Primary Audience Persona Soda Bar Restaurant Secondary Audience Persona

Research Brands

Define: After empathising, I started more visual research as well as annotating the brands in terms of good and bad aspects.

After developing personas for the soda bar and pizzeria, I focused on gathering examples of branding for both sodas, pizzerias and restaurants. After finding good examples, I printed out their brand content and annotated key aspects I liked of the branding and parts I didn't. Analysing this content helped provide me with inspiration when sketching and developing ideas and highlighted consistencies with products and brands from the industry area of my two business briefs.

Pizza Hit Pizza Box Branding Design Annotations Hell Pizza Brandpack Design Annotations Gingerella: Ginger Ale Branding Design Annotations Hefty's Burgers Brandpack Design Annotations DRY Soda Product Branding Design Annotations.

Developing Pizza and Soda Restaurant Logos

Ideate: After research, I began generating new ideas based on previous designs, brand research and personas.

Taking my annotations from my research, I developed more of my previous logos from both businesses and created new concepts to compare. After filling out a page of new sketches for each business, I chose four from each to develop into independent brand concepts based on how much I liked the sketch or how much potential I thought a brand with that logo had.

For the pizzeria, I chose logos 2, 9, 11 and 12 which were Rest in Pizza, Weirdough, Pizza Heaven and Lightning Pizza respectively.

Further Pizzeria Logo and Brand Development

For the soda bar, I chose logos 1, 2, 9, and 14 which were Americana, States, Fizz and Liberty respectively.

Further Soda Bar Logo and Brand Development

Creating Four Brand Concepts for each Restaurant

Taking the logos I had developed and chose, I created a short description on each as an independent brand based on the logos as well as taglines that could go with the brand. This was to give me a rough idea of where I could take the brand with each logo, to help me understand the values the brand would have under each style and therefore understand colours that would match these values.

Four Brand Concepts for Pizzeria Restaurant Based on Logo Sketches. Four Brand Concepts for Soda Bar Restaurant Based on Logo Sketches.

Following completing the brand description for eight logos (four for each business) I decided to start developing digital concepts. To do this I used Adobe Illustrator because it built to create high quality vector images which is needed for a company’s logo in varying sizes.

Illustrator Brand Developments: Pizza Restaurant

Developing Illustrator concepts, closer to a final logo to receive feedback on.

I set on recreating and improving logos for the pizzeria brand ideas, and tools I used frequently to do this involved the shape tool, shape builder tool, live paint tool and type tool. These helped me construct the shapes, typography and colours for each of the logo designs.

Difficulties I faced included trying to discover the right amount of negative paces to use between the Zs on the Lightning Pizza logo and distorting the type to the right angle on the Rest in PIzza logo. After completing each logo, I created an alternate version in white so the logo can be used on documents without colour.

Initial Illustrator Vectors Created for 'Pizza Heaven' Brand. Further Development of Vectors for 'Pizza Heaven' Logo and First Concept. Initial Creation of 'Lightning Pizza' Brand Logo with Lightning Bolt Vector. Further Development of 'Lightning Pizza' Brand Logo with Bolt Being Used in the Pizza Type. Typefaces Trialed for 'Lightning Pizza' Logo and First Concept. Development of 'Rest in Pizza' Brand Logo. Development of 'Weirdough' Brand Logo.

Black and White Versions of the Pizza Brand Logo Concepts.

Illustrator Brand Development: Soda Bar Restaurant

Difficulties I faced creating the soda bar logos included creating a bottle shape for the ‘i’ in Liberty Soda Bar and balancing the shapes in the Americana Soda Bar logo to make sure it didn't look off center in content. Like the previous logos, I created alternate version in white for monocolour documents.

Initial Development of 'Americana: Soda Bar' Brand Logo with Potential Typefaces. 'Liberty: Soda Bar' Brand Initial Logo Development. 'Fizz: Soda Bar' Brand Development with Vectors to Create Logo Concepts. Initial 'States: Soda Bar' Brand Development with Vector Concept Logo.

Black and White Versions of the Soda Brand Logo Concepts.

Brand Colour Schemes: Pizza and Soda Briefs

Define: I started to research relevant colours for brands, and how they effect the consumer.

Before testing out various colour schemes I researched colour psychology to discover which colours would be best to use to represent the brands. On ‘WebstaurantStore’ I found an article by Richard Traylor in which he explains the psychological effect colours can have on consumers, specifically in the context of restaurants or food brands (2017).

Traylor said that red ‘increases your guests' heart rates and can make them hungry’ which encouraged me to focus on the colour in the brands for that effect. Traylor also said yellow assists in ‘making people happy and content’ and green evokes feelings of ‘nature, making it an excellent choice for establishments that serve healthy and natural foods’ which interested me as to use them as secondary colours. Also, he states ‘blue reduces customers' appetites, but it makes them thirsty’ which may seem like a negative effect, but I saw as a positive for the Soda Bar Brand.

Traylor's Post on Interior Restaurant Brand Colours can be found Here. Taking the research on colour psychology, I generated ideas of colour schemes for each of the logos.

After undertaking my research I began to test out different colour schemes on each of the four logos in Adobe Illustrator using the Live Paint tool.

For the Pizza Heaven logo I tried out colour schemes with yellow to focus on the ‘divine aspect of the brand, and using true to life colours since its and illustration of a pizza.

'Pizza Heaven' Colour Scheme Testing.

For the Lightning Pizza logo I wanted to use colours that had a sense of energy so I focused on using red and yellow in a gradient, and then block colours with the addition of green to give a healthy feel.

'Lightning Pizza' Colour Scheme Testing.

For Americana and Fizz I went back and forth trying colours for both, with the main focus on American colours like red, white and blue to ensure the American diner feel comes across to customers, and colours that evoke neon signage that would be found outside these diners.

'Americana: Soda Bar' and 'Fizz: Soda Bar' Colour Scheme Testing. Further 'Americana: Soda Bar' and 'Fizz: Soda Bar' Colour Scheme Testing.

Developing Colour Schemes and Evaluating Decisions

I collated my ideas of colour schemes for each of the logos, and presented them in the forms of mini-brand guidelines which explain reasoning.

After researching and testing various colour schemes based on how I wanted to represent each brand, I narrowed it down to two preferred colours schemes for each of the four preferred logos. I created an artboard for each colour scheme and how to use it with the logo, as well as a short description of what the colour scheme and each colour represent for the brand.


Americana: Soda Bar Developed Colour Scheme Concepts.
Fizz: Soda Bar Developed Colour Scheme Concepts.
Lightning Pizza Developed Colour Scheme Concepts.
Pizza Heaven Developed Colour Scheme Concepts.

Second Feedback Presentation

After combining both threads of prototype stages into one presentation, I tested the designs to get feedback.

I had my two preferred logos for each brand, and two colour scheme for each logo. I presented the logos and colour schemes to my cohort and to lecturers Paul and Jarad, this was because I wanted to receive feedback and get a consensus on which logo and colour scheme to base the brand guideline on.

From the feedback I received, most of my cohort liked the red/blue Americana logo and the Red/Yellow/Green Lightning Pizza logo with the majority preferring the Americana logo. Additionally, Jared and Paul added that though they liked the Americana logo he thought: the ‘Soda Bar’ text could be more centered, the ‘Americana’ text could be more central between the extended ‘A’ and the star above the ‘i’ should be bigger.

With the feedback I received, I decided on moving forward with creating brand guidelines for Americana Soda Bar with a red/blue colour scheme.

Logo Feedback Updates

After the previous 'Test' step, I briefly went back to 'Prototype' to make the changes to the logo based on feedback and defined the fonts.

Based on Jared and Paul’s feedback after my second presentation I made sure to update the logo with the addition they requested. I created version of the logo with different uses of the colour scheme that would be used in the brand which included: block colour, alternate colours, gradient versions and black and white colours.

Updated Americana Logo Based on Jarad's Feedback, with Defined Colour Scheme and Logo Alternatives.

Fonts

On deciding fonts for my brand I searched for different kinds of type that could represent a retro American style, however because I wanted to keep them consistent with the logo and they already matched the criteria I wanted. These fonts are Harlow Solid Italic for titles, and Mark Black for headings. Harlow Solid Italic is good for the brand because it evokes the styles of neon signage from American diner, and it is striking an unique which will stand out from to the consumer. Mark Black is used because it stands out for headings and is easy to read because it’s a sans-serif font. To further ensure consistency, for the body font I chose Mark Regular because it’s easy to read and was a light version of Mark Black.

Fonts Explored for Americana Branding all with a Focus on a Retro American Theme..

Brand Guideline Research

Define: Researched brand guidelines, what content is relevant for the brand and examples of similar restaurants.'

Before creating the brand guidelines I researched information on what content to include in a guideline as well as inspiration for the design and layout of the guideline too. On ‘99designs’ I found an article by Shirley Chan that offered an excellent guide to start creating a brand guideline and areas of your brand to think about, which I used to help me.

  • "Brand story
    • Hello, this is BRAND. Here’s what we make and do.
    • These are our Mission, Vision, and Values.
  • Logo
    • Here’s our logo and what it means to us.
    • How to use our logo.
    • How not to use our logo.
  • Color Palette
    • These are our colors.
    • Here are pretty swatches with CMYK and HEX codes.
  • Typography
    • These are the fonts we use and why we chose them.
    • This is our main typeface.
    • This is our secondary typeface. Ooh how pretty!
  • Imagery
    • These are on-brand images.
    • How to lay them out.
  • Voice
    • This is how we speak.
    • Use these do’s and don’ts.”
(Chan, 2016)

A link to the 99designs post on brand guidelines can be found here.

After researching content to put in my brand guidelines, I looked for visual inspiration and found an article that highlighted '21 Brand Style Guide Examples for Inspiration' by Karla Cook on Hubspot (2017). From tis article I took heavy inspiration from number '8. Herban Kitchen' and '19. Scrimshaw Coffee' which I used because they are both brands belonging to the catering industry.

A link to the Hubspot post by Karla Cook on '21 Brand Style Guide Examples for Inspiration' can be found here.

Brand Guidelines Sketches

Developed ideas based on the research undertaken about brand guidelines.

After researching what to put into brand guidelines and examples to inspire my design, I began listing sections I needed to feature the Americana brand such as: brand story, logos, colour palette, typography, imagery, voice and interior. After, understanding the sections of content I was going to put into my brand guidelines, I began sketching ideas for the layout of these sections and cover.

Outline of Content to Include in Brand Guideline for Americana. Further Outline of Potential Content to Include in Brand Guideline for Americana, and Cover Sketches. Sketches of Americana Brand Guideline Cover, Logos, Colours, Moodboard, Typography and Interior.

Brand Guideline Development

After ideating my sketches for my brand guidelines, I developed a first draft of my guidelines.

To create the Americana brand guidelines I used Adobe InDesign, because it is built to create and manage print and digital documents and books.

For each section made I used a combination of sketches and inspiration research to create the layout of the pages, using a four column grid on each page. To find images for the moodboard and interior I used Unsplash, a website that hosts royalty free images, and Pinterest.

After creating each section I had listed from my research, I exported the first draft as a PDF to show to my lecturer, Paul, and receive feedback.

This version of the brand guidelines shows the state it was in when I presented it to Paul for feedback, and highlights the layouts which resemble my sketches.

Open the first draft of the Americana Brand Guidelines here in a new tab here.

Brand Guideline Feedback

Giving the first draft of my brand guidelines to my lecturer, Paul for feedback.

After taking my brand guidelines to Paul for feedback he offered this advice: separate the logo and typography on to different pages, annotate parts of the logos with graphics when needed like showing the gradient levels, move the black logo on imagery away from distracting smudges, show logos in the imagery section don't have to be in the center, change the interior section so it more accurately displays the interior of a restaurant rather than examples of furniture, add an exterior section, add a uniform section, add a vehicle section and add a packaging section.

The notes my lecturer, Paul gave me on how to improve my brand guidelines

Brand Guideline Feedback Sketches

After identifying areas of my 'Americana: Soda Bar' brand guidelines, I began to sketch: my concepts for the layout of new pages that had to be added and designs for the new brand content needed in the guidelines like packaging, exterior, interior, vehicles and uniform.

Based on my feedback from Paul, I generated ideas for the content requested in his feedback. Initial Layout Sketches of New Brand Guideline Pages Interior Sketches used in Brand Guideline Exterior Sketch used in Brand Guideline Sketches of Packaging Designs of Takeaway Cups, Sandwich Boxes and Treat Boxes. Sketches of Employee Uniform, focusing on White T-Shirts with a 60s Style. Sketches of Vehicle Marketing Design for Deliveries to Chains.

Brand Guideline Final Outcome

I created the final outcome version of my brand guidelines, based on the sketches I produced for updated content.

After sketching the content to add in to my brand guidelines based on Paul's feedback, I added in the new content and made the changes he requested. Using Adobe Photoshop to create the mockups of brand content, and then exporting the images to add in to the final outcome version of my brand guidelines.

If I had more time to add content to my guidelines, I would have used more of Paul's advice and added more informative illustrations to the guidelines to engage the reader such as illustrating the information about logo gradients.

Mockup of my Final Outcome for Project. The final outcome PDF of the Americana Brand Guidelines, which should have a layout of a cover page with facing pages but can't be viewed this way online.

Open the final outcome (Americana: Soda Bar Brand Guidelines) in a new tab here.


The final outcome can be seen back at the top of the page by clicking here.


References

Dam, R. and Siang, T. (2018). 5 Stages in the Design Thinking Process. [online] Interaction Design Foundation. Available at: https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/5-stages-in-the-design-thinking-process [Accessed 26 Jan. 2018].

Lee, K. (2015). The Beginner's Guide to Creating Marketing Personas. [online] Bufferapp Available at: https://blog.bufferapp.com/marketing-personas-beginners-guide [Accessed 1 Mar. 2018]

Traylor, R. (2017). How Restaurant Color Schemes Affect Your Customers. [online] Webstaurant Available at: https://www.webstaurantstore.com/blog/1884/interior-color-choices-and-your-restaurants-message.html [Accessed 1 Mar. 2018].

Chan, S. (2016). How to create a brand style guide - 99designs. [online] 99designs Available at: https://99designs.co.uk/blog/logo-branding-en-gb/how-to-create-a-brand-style-guide/ [Accessed 1 Mar. 2018].

Cook, K. (2017). 21 Brand Style Guide Examples for Visual Inspiration. [online] Blog.hubspot.com. Available at: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/examples-brand-style-guides [Accessed 1 Mar. 2018].