In the excitement of starting a new business it’s pretty easy to get caught up in checking your to-do list off as fast as possible.
I have been seeing it more and more with food truck logos. They have an idea of what their business will be and how it will be running it and want to get there as soon as possible.
There are a lot of holes in that plan though. Haste makes waste. By trying to get to the finish line as fast as possible they risk not reaching it.
In most cases, I would say that I border on over-analysing situations before making decisions. While that has always slowed me down to some degree, it never has hindered my ability to complete a task or cross a finish line.
Knowing when you can rush through a task and when you must be more pensive is something successful entrepreneurs have under their belts.
For instance, getting supplies for the office—just do it and have it over with. Setting the office up for efficiency—well, take a bit more time to think about it but don’t doddle. Deciding your target market and who to work with from your office—definitely deliberate.
What I am seeing from food trucks is excitement and enthusiasm that is overshadowing their goals. It is great to see people with tremendous drive (in the food truck business I guess that’s all you'll see). But steps often are skipped, jumped, or bypassed.
It’s tough to see them headed down the wrong path…well really, the absence of a path, right from the outset. It becomes obvious when we start seeing people pitch their logos but the logo is not really where it starts.
Recently, a food trucker looking for critique posted their logo for Fantastic Food. Now, I could go on and on about their use of Comic Sans, superfluous sublines, and unpredictable use of capital letters, but the issue runs much deeper.
What cuisine would you expect from Fantastic Food? There are so many fantastic foods, surely they don’t have all of them in the back of this truck? This name is very generic, but no, it still goes deeper than that.
Those superfluous sublines make up a list of all the foods they serve—sandwiches, wraps, sliders…fusion concept. Foodtastic?
Their business lacks focus. They don’t have a clear grasp on the type of food they want to sell or what makes it stand apart from any other truck in the food business. People don’t go out for food, they go out for a burger, or for Thai, or for Italian. We want something specific even if we don’t know what it is yet.
Generic food conjures up visuals of yellow no name brand boxes of macaroni.
A business that knows what it will sell and what its unique selling proposition is, i.e. what makes it different, are set up from the get go to succeed. This focus seems so simple but so commonly missed.
We’re too focussed on getting to the doing more than we are doing the thinking.
Thinking seems unproductive because there is nothing tangible that comes out of it. If this is you, it might be worth writing everything down you think about and decide. You’ll have tangible evidence of everything you’ve accomplished.
Choosing a name once this concept and direction is chosen becomes so much easier. Sandwich shop with a sense of humour — Between Two Slices. Done, that’s a wrap (you got me, a sandwich).
No need to use the word food because hopefully it is obvious if you are a food truck or restaurant that is what you serve. And no need to use fantastic because why would you serve anything less?
Don’t skip the concept and don’t bypass a good name that fits the concept and your brand.
Only then will you be prepared to start thinking about a logo design. But you’d be surprised how many food truckers try to skip through this quickly as well. It’s a box to check off on the list of things to do to get up and running.
One point that is often missed by restaurateurs creating their own logos is that a logo is not just a pretty graphic. It’s a piece of communication. Sight is often the first sense you get to excite without them actually trying your food.
A logo needs to communicate the business’ values, cuisine, and personality but it also needs to be very functional. It will live in so many more places than just the side of a truck or the awning over your door.
What we’ve been seeing is large elaborate illustrations with heaps of detail on the sides of trucks. And yes, they can look and be very effective here but in terms of a logo it is severely limiting. These graphics do not translate well down to a simple takeaway menu, business card, or flyer.
We’re not saying food trucks can’t have these graphics. We’re saying there is a time and place for graphics but a logo needs to be useful everywhere. The beauty of a well crafted logo is that if used in a consistent way, you can dress it up and integrate into the graphics you want on the side of your truck.
To summarize, start with your concept and overall brand personality. Move onto creating a name that sticks and falls inline with your concept. Using both of these things, craft a logo that both visually tells the brand story and literally gives the name of the business. Lastly, create the graphics for your food truck, storefront, or restaurant by integrating your logo and considering your overall brand message.
Simply put, the quickest way to a great logo is following process and creating a strong foundation in the brand promise.