project details

CLIENT

Taco Garage

Our client, Taco Garage, is a restaurant originally from Alabama that was brought to Tennessee by two restaurant industry enthusiasts. They came to Nice looking for assistance in taking their idea for a taco restaurant to the next level by having us create their brand from beginning to end. We established clear brand direction for this Mexican restaurant branding project that was inspired by the client's eagerness for their customers to feel the brand through all surrounding touch points.

MEXICAN RESTAURANT BRANDING KICKOFF

Cindy and Rick Story reached out to us about their desire to work on their restaurant concept in tandem with a restaurant branding agency, we jumped at the opportunity to create a restaurant from scratch in Murfreesboro, a neighboring city to Nashville, that is appreciative of superb food. 

Our client began their journey by bringing the Nice Branding Agency girls on board to take their ideas and create a strong brand direction for the new brand to follow. They knew that to develop an extraordinary concept they needed extra brainpower to help them stand out amongst all the restaurants in the area. With that in mind, they hand-picked Nice Branding Agency to take on their Mexican restaurant branding process and gave us autonomy to do what we do best, create bold brands!

BRAND DIRECTION

The first stage of the restaurant branding process was forming the visual direction for the brand. We always create multiple brand boards to establish the favored route for visual brand direction with our clients. For this Mexican restaurant branding project, we created three brand boards: Taco Diner, Taco USA, and Taco Garage. They ended up loving the Taco Garage brand board so much that they also decided to keep the name!

In the selected brand board, the visual direction depicted had a grungy garage vibe, with custom-marquee signage and neon light inspiration to bring attention and light to a mostly dark aesthetic. The use of garage doors brought in a literal application to the brand and incorporating a mixture of fonts created a homegrown effect. Warm versions of bright, primary red and yellows made up the brand colors. We grounded those brighter colors with a muted grey and off-black.

Taco Garage was born through the presentation of this brand board.

RESTAURANT LOGO DESIGN DIRECTION MEETING

Now that the name and them were solidified, we started building Taco Garage’s grungy, bold logo. Our first step was drafting up some ideas. Our end goal was to create a very strong logo for the brand that was versatile enough so that it could be featured on all touch points. Keep in mind, we had a full garage of tacos to brand! The options that we presented for this Mexican restaurant branding, included ideas focused on the grungy garage feel of the brand.

FINALIZATION OF CONCEPTUALIZATION

We presented these concepts to the design leadership team for final thoughts. They provided insight and finessed the ideas before having the team start the development process to take them digital. Our Director of Design and Creative Director looked over the choices to make sure that all the logos were in alignment with the visual direction selected. They also reviewed the variety of options to ensure it was well-rounded for the client’s selection process. All new ideas recommended by the design leaders would be carried out in the next phase of the project: logo design.

MEXICAN RESTAURANT BRANDING | LOGO DESIGN

The design team got to work on pairing fonts, picking colors, and developing icons to embody Taco Garage. This process involved bringing the hand-sketched images to life in a way that is both modern and timeless. In addition, we think through where the logo will be appearing the most. For this Mexican restaurant branding, we developed logo options that were unique in comparison to their competitors, while being mindful that it communicated that the concept was in fact, a restaurant. Basically, we wanted to create pieces that looked like restaurant logos, while making sure they didn’t look too similar to other restaurant logos.

THREE LOGO OPTIONS

Three logo options were digitally developed for the brand. Option one had big, bold arrows made to look similar to directional signage that one would see in at an auto body shop or garage. The name of the restaurant displayed using grungy, imperfect typefaces, pieced together to create a new one-of-a-kind logotype. This first option had lots of personality and had the appearance of being hand-painted onto the arrows.

Option two was formulated with consideration of the deep passion for tacos that many folks in the area are consumed by. Font selections for this option were anchored in grungy, hand-painted styles. The icon was developed to commemorate tacos. “Out of this World Tacos” was chosen to accompany this logo as a tagline that further told the brand story.

Option three, included a funky, blocky type that displayed a taco resting on top the O in “Taco”.

 

PRESENTATION AND SELECTION

Once we presented all three options, the client chose the first logo and had no changes to make to it. The simplicity of the design was exactly what they were looking for and they could easily see how it could woven the unique font and directional signage throughout the brand.

LOGO FINALIZATION

The clients favorite option went to the Director of Design for finalization. During this part of the process, each letter in the logo is closely inspected and perfected, and the exact colors are selected in CMYK, PMS, RGB and hex codes.

Then, logo guidelines were drawn up for the client that included proper logo usage, fonts, and color codes. We provided the client with their logo files along with the guidelines. We proved the logo files in black, white and full color in JPEG, PNG, EPS and PDF formats.

SITEMAP PRESENTATION

Early on in this Mexican restaurant branding project, we developed a sitemap for the website. In this, we outlined the pages that are necessary for the website. To start, we chose to start with a single page scrolling site. The site would be home to external links for online ordering and google maps, and would include a simple menu. This menu would be editable in the backend of WordPress.

WEBSITE HOSTING

We offered our hosting package, an optional add-on to our website design and development project. Essentially, this means that one the website build was complete that our clients would own their site but they’d have the option to have us host and maintain the site on a frequent basis.

Our hosting service includes the fastest page load speeds in the industry, daily backups and monthly maintenance and monitoring. Taco Garage chose to utilize this option to have us host and maintain the website, making for an efficient launch day.

RESTAURANT INTERIOR BRANDING

During this phase, we started working on the interior branding. For Taco Garage to reach its full potential, we knew the design needed to be felt by all customers who experienced the restaurant. Creating a positive association between customers and a restaurant is what makes them fall in love with a restaurant brand. This is also what keeps them coming back for more.

To make this happen, the floor plan was the place to start. After this we took a look at the lighting, flooring, hardware, furniture, wall color and textures, fixtures and environmental graphic design and anything else that a customer could set their sights on when entering the Garage to enjoy tacos. Every single lightbulb, cup and napkin container was given the okay from our team.

The Mexican restaurant branding that we’d created for Taco Garage bleed out of the design in the grungy, industrial textures, graphic signage, and lighting we chose. The restaurant need their vibe to scream garage pair with the simple design that would reflect their mission to keep things uncomplicated.

We chose concrete flooring and custom-designed floor art that would guide customers through their taco adventure from the door, to the counter, drink station and seating. Above the checkout counter, there is a marqee sign that offers and “Instagrammable” focal point and doubles as a functional sign to show drink specials.

We implemented large interior graphics, signs and wall installations to display the cheeky brand voice of Taco Garage throughout the space. One wall reads: “Take the Tacos & Run”. Another wall says, “Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Tacos”. To accentuate the casual feel of the restaurant we utilized neon signs on brick, old-school marquee signage and industrial installations that bring warm light to the space.

Industrial tables and chairs were the perfect fit for the vibe, no fancy tablecloth necessary.

Once this stage was complete, we started designing their print materials while the construction for Taco Garage took place.

MEXICAN RESTAURANT BRANDING | MENU + MENU BOARD DESIGN

We created a do-it-yourself ordering system that was in alignment with their no-nonsense aesthetic. Using color blocking and sections to guide the user experience, we created a do-it-yourself ordering system that fits with the Taco Garage’s no-nonsense aesthetic. Customers could use old-school golf pencils and rip off paper sheets to write down their taco order on the order pads that live in the point of purchase area.

Creating easy to read menu design was critical for communicating the brand message (Keep. It. Simple) but also for assisting customers find where to start when they’re ordering.

We kept the menu board design simple as well. From left to right, the menu board placed priority on the tacos and encouraged adding on side items.

BUSINESS CARD

For the Taco Garage business card design, we implemented a simple application of the logo with varying brand colors and a taco pattern. The back-side of the cards held the contact information for each member of the team that was in alignment with overall brand aesthetic.

The business cards were printed on uncoated stock that was nice but simple to contribute to the uncomplicated feel of the brand.

 

STATIONERY PACKAGE

We complemented the business cards with a full suite of stationery, including a letterhead, envelope, and notecard. The letterhead displayed the taco pattern on the reverse, which was an intro to a custom element that spruced up an unglamorous method of communication.

It’s easy to overlook the small details, but at Nice Branding, we understand that it’s the smallest details that create a sense of consistency throughout the collateral and help provide a fully branded experience. This experience is what makes a business different from the rest.

FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY

During this phase, we needed to produce top-notch photos of Taco Garage’s speciality items. We barely had to put-forth effort to make their food look scrumptious but the use of professional lighting and props were key in raising the quality and aesthetic of their images.

Planning started with the creation of a mood board that would give inspiration for the photoshoot. This board was aligned with the visual direction for Taco Garage, but specific to the staging of the food.

Now that the plan was in place, we were able to purchase props. We assembled props and backdrops the would aid us in bringing the mood board that we’d created to life while shooting the photos.

We make sure to leave nothing to chance when it comes to food photography. Every detail is precisely planned. In addition to the props, we bought fresh ingredients would help with staging the photos as well.

Our goal was for the photos to mimic the brand in being very simple and very good. Good food photography will make people hungry, so we ensured that our set-up options were alluring and on-brand. Food photography that’s great will last as long as a menu, so our client will be capable of utilizing these photos again and again on socials and across their brand for years to come. 

RESTAURANT MATERIALS

Now that we’d laid out the environment and menus, we knew that restaurant materials were the next big asset that we needed to work through. These materials are interacted and physically touched by the customers so this piece of branding a restaurant is very important.

Generally, we create designs for items such as to-go cups, take-out bags and staff uniform.

Choosing the employee attire was simple for this restaurant branding agency when taking their brand into consideration. Does it get more simple than a tee shirt? We created shirt for the Taco Garage team that would echo their brand voice in a cool, wearable way.

While creating the cups we used varying brand colors and included witty phrases that would be impactful and interesting enough to grace customer’s Instagram feeds.

MEXICAN RESTAURANT BRANDING | WEBSITE WIREFRAME

With most of the main brand elements in place, we shifted our attention to the website. The Taco Garage website needed to be informative and full of calls to action to get customers to either come in the door or order online. User Experience on various screen sizes was really important to us, knowing users would be visiting the Taco Garage website often on mobile. Additionally, we worked to structure the site so that there would be a focus on getting viewers to the goals: ordering online, finding the restaurant, or viewing the menu. Icons would be developed for the menu items, so that the user could simply scroll down and see what was offered at a glance.

WEBSITE DESIGN

The website is a really great way to communicate a lot of information about the brand voice to each customer, so we filled it with branded, pro-taco messages. We scored a sweet domain for Taco Garage and loaded it up with a fully designed and developed site. Go ahead, check it out. We’ll wait. Lovethetaco.com.

The website user interface was populated with bold colors, hand-drawn illustrations, food images, and textured backgrounds. All of the details convey to the user the feeling of the brand, and what they can expect when they walk through the doors at Taco Garage.

WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT

Now that site design and wireframe were approved by our client, we were able to bring the design to life online. This website was custom-built via WordPress, which offers a CMS that offers the client easy entry into the back-end of the site to update any content. Once the site was fully built and tested by our team with a temporary link, we provided our clients to review. This allowed our clients to view and test the website themselves prior to us migrating it to their domain.

WEBSITE LAUNCH

Once approved, we launched the website on lovethetaco.com and performed final testing to certify that all pieces of the site were in working order.

 

MEXICAN RESTAURANT BRANDING PROJECT CLOSEOUT

To bookmark the restaurant branding part of this project, Nice provided print-ready PDF files for print collateral and logo files through a shared folder. In addition, we stayed on-board to offer consultation throughout the build of the restaurant interior.

ADD ON: RESTAURANT BRANDING AGENCY CONSULTING AND MARKETING

Our clients also wanted us to stay on as their marketing agency on an on-going basis. We offered consultation on their POS systems, recommended a loyalty system and found an option for collecting customer’s email addresses and phone numbers for future marketing deployment via email and text messages. We also directed the client on service wear and best practices for food presentation.

To gain traction for the Taco Garage Grand Opening, we established a social media presence and built a basis of followers local to Murfreesboro. Since, we’ve also kept up with online brand engagement via social media management and fresh content.

Taco Garage’s overall success came through clear brand direction in tandem with our client’s want to have their food, brand and operations in sync. Months of work helped create a concept that was fascinating and effective but that effort paid off. Do you have a great idea for a restaurant concept that needs to be branded? We’re your girls, hit us up today to get this party started!

We’ll bring the branding expertise if you bring the tacos. Call us today so that we can take your restaurant branding project straight to the top.

 

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