Ready.... Set... Logo!

hughfire's picture

I am currently workingon an identity for a company called Ready... Set... Dinner! (exclamation theirs - I'm not quite THAT excited). They recently changed their name from Ready For Dinner - (what a stretch). Anyway - for background - they are one of those places where you go and prepare like 12 entrees at a time (they do all the shopping, prep work and clean up) and you take home the 12 entrees to freeze and then pop in the oven - Since you made it yourself you know its fresh, "homemade", and adjusdted to your personal tastes (for an additional fee you can pay them to assemble the meal). Anyway - it is a new concept to our area (Louisvilla) and the owners already are ready to franchise into Chicago and a couple of other cities around here. I have attached their original logo and my first few drafts - let me know what you think. A couple of the elements (such as the chef hat in 2 or 3 of them) were requested regardless of cliche (but oddly enough among their competitors its about the only "food" symbol that hasn't been used.

The logos should be upbeat - the branding style will be coming along - already a couple of her competitors have latched onto A) the Williams Sonoma look or B) the kitchy 1950's I Love Lucy look - we will probably be avoiding those just for differentiation - so we are going for a more laid back look. They asked that I not focus on Ready...Set...Go as rushing or hurrying so clocks and speed were not part of the concepting

Let me know what you think - A couple of them I am not sure about type arrangement in relation to logo and I am not sold on all of these fonts, but Its been in our office - but not in my worklog - (hmmm how nice is that) for a pretty long time (about 3 weeks) and the customer is aching to see proofs - so I will probably go with these for now, but would like some objective eyes on ways to tweak them in the next month or so...

1) Here is the original logo (only about 2 years old - I'm not sure who did this one)

2) Trying for a kind of swooshy "Panera Bread" kinda thing - not really sure I like it

3) This one would go with the tag line "Meals like Magic" It really is a leftover idea I had when we were batting around the name Abracadinner! But we liked the concept so here it is...

4) This one is really a take on their original logo - keeping the chef hat, but bringing it a little more current in style. This one reminds me of a mayonase label...

5) I think I like this one best - clean and elegant more my style, but maybe too WilliamsSonoma. However - the client did tell me her favorite magazine is Real Simple - so... It my fly... Any ideas on how to make the icon in the middle more obviously a switch to set an oven without going overboard?

6) The customer asked for one that says Ta-Daa! I'm not really big on that concept but this is pretty close to what I sketched in my book - didn't flesh it out cause I think it won't make it past round one (shame on me)

Thanks guys for any input....


squeeze's picture

I like #5 also. It would look great on the side of a vehicle.

Before I read your explanation, I thought the icon was a timer (the word set could go either way, timer or oven knob). Maybe you could try using the negative space to create a slim white vertical line above the knob (showing the off position), then the knob (which I think usually turns to the left) would look like it was rotated from a set position, rather than a ticking timer.

Have you tried a version where the icons are at angles. I realize it isn't as "Real Simple", but it might be worth exploring. Right now they look a little rigid, but the curves of the colored boxes is a good contrast.

Good work. Aloha!

Sharon Van Lieu's picture

I always enjoy reading your critiques, Scott. I've learned a great deal from them.


squeeze's picture

You mean other people read my critiques? I've just been doing this to try and keep my design sense sharpened. Now I'm going to have to be careful about what I say

aluminum's picture

#5...though I actually think I like the tagline on top of the mark (I actually thought the purple tagline was part of the logo at first).

I think 5 works simply because it's different. The rest tend to all be a bit cliche in the food/catering business.

Sharon Van Lieu's picture

I like number 5 the best because it looks so light and clean. If I'm going to cook somewhere, the feeling that it would be clean would be important to me. It does seem a bit Martha Stewartish in the colors but that actually seems to be a plus to me for this business.

I'm really not qualified to comment but that's how it strikes me.


jupiterboy's picture

Stylized temp marks on the dial might help, in line with the details on the other two icons.

Does the space afte the elipse seem a bit tight on 5?

hughfire's picture

Thanks for the ideas so far!

I tried to put tic marks on the dial and it seems a little "up periscope" for me or too much like a target mark for printing - is this what you guys were referring to? I also felt like it might help if it was pointing at a temperature that was a little closer to where one would bake - in the other version it would be barely defrosting. Is that important or do you think the directional aspect of having the arrow help guide the eye through the logo outweighs that? Also - I didn't put a space after the elipse which though its wrong gramatically they felt it kept it together as one company name better so we're trying it on both ways, not sure where we'll land there... Scott I'll have to give the idea of tilting the blocks a shot a littel later - too crammed for time right now...


What about type on the other ones especially #2 I am not sure I like that font or placement in realation to the logo. Is the font too I Love Lucy retro? I am also posting a "simplified" version of the magic spoon that may feel less cluttered...

Also - the tag line will not be part of the logos I just included it for reference - thats why they were so far away they would be a seperate entity altogether.

The tag line for the "magic spoon" is Meals like Magic...

Simplified #2

Opinions please....

squeeze's picture

I was thinking something a little more like this for the dial/knob (see below), which indicates that there is a rotation (not a scope). This also brings it to the same level of complexity/detail as the other two icons.

Dinner logo

Also, I thought the words were spread out a little too much.

I'm not crazy about the abracadinner concept, although, that is a great spoon. It just doesn't say enough

hughfire's picture

Ahhhh! Doink! yep that loos like an oven knob to me - GREAT suggestion...

Yeah - I am really confident they will probably pick up on #5... although the one with both the hat and spoon is close enough to their original that they may feel a tie to it. I just swear it looks like a mayo jar label to me...

andrew_baker's picture

I think you can alleviate the periscope fe by only having one tick, at the top. I would try putting the tick in the white circle, possibly fatter.

So the two you just posted will be changed, either with meals like magic or with no tagline?

I'm confused...

I prefer the magic spoon in the first post, minus the gray smudge at bottom.


andrew_baker's picture

Whoops scott beat me to it. Ignore my suggestion.

hughfire's picture

Oh btw - got a call from them earlier on today - it will be #3,4,or 5 - And unless we try to bring in another one of the concepts that we just had in sketch version we should just be tweaking these three for a couple of days.

I think though I like 5 the most any of those three won't kill me because I have some cool visual and layout ideas for each of them when we get to collateral.

But I'm rooting for #5

hughfire's picture

The tag lines will not be a "part" of any of the logos - I am just giving them for stylistic reference

dan's picture

Hugh, Its not a upscale idea or look. I think they want to access the person who would go to the fast food resturant or works a ton of hours a week. Therefore any cliche would work for me, even a chefs hat. What I'm not in love with is the retro 50s type. I don't think the target audience would get it. KISS is the answer

hughfire's picture

Dan, are you referring to one in particular?

dan's picture

No Hugh, I'm generalizing I think the big picture is focus on the marketing, who are these people and if they are the time challenged they really won't care very much about what the logo looks like but rather do they get it right away. Like showing a phone book for yellow pages. If they have to think you've lost them, its the pager, cellphone generation with the attention span of a knat

mad grab's picture

i can kinda agree with daniel on this one.

Since i can consider myself part of the "pager, cellphone generation". the logo with the timer is not really recognizable and if i saw that logo i probably would know what it meant unless i read this thread. dont get me wrong these ideas are great but maybe something more cliche since the people who are going to use this are not going to have the time to read into the logo or know what the company does for that matter.

mad grab's picture

i guess what iam trying to say is that the timer is hard to see, and if you look at it it actually looks like a cup of coffee viewed from the top. since its next to a bowl of soup and diner plate

its goes from soup, timer, to diner. doesnt really make sense.

what do i know!

just a student


pablohoney77's picture

maybe the order of the icons should follow the order of the words in the name with something like groceries in the first box, a timer or oven knob in the middle and the steaming meal in the last block. just an idea. as one who actually does cook (and i'm assuming this company is catering to an audience that has some knowledge of how to use an oven) i get the knob, esp mark's version with the ticks. but maybe it's cuz i've been exposed to this thread and i like the icon, makes it hard for me to have a totally objective eye.
(or maybe even the empty place setting could go in the middle box... like set the table) okay i'll stop, i'm rambling.

sbarlow's picture

In a nutshell, Hugh, what do you want this logo to communicate? You mentioned in your original description that you want an upbeat logo but also that you are going for "a laid back look."

Who is your target market?

Anyway, just wanted a couple of clarifications to give a more informed critique . . .

hughfire's picture

The real target market is soccer moms and the icons in number five are following the process. Mix it up (used the blue for that one because it is the stage where it is frozen), then cooking with the oven dial (warm orangy color for cooking) and then dinner - plate and fork - they want to really focus on getting the family back to the table - hence the place setting versus a steaming covered platter.

They want to show that the experience is hassle free - you don't have to shop, you don't have to prep, you don't have to clean - you just show up, mix the stuff up to your taste, take it home (frozen of course), bake it and serve. We found that showing any kind of representation of the taking the food home connotated delivery so we've kept the cars, wheels, bags, etc. out we also found that indicating anything about freezing visually made people think more of tv dinners which this is trying to get away from..

There also needs to be a sense of levity that cooking dinner doens't have to be a chore, but can be a rewarding experience one with a good deal of satisfaction.

paul - originally I did have the plate in the middle with a table in the far right (or a smile with a yum-yum tongue) for that exact reason "set the table", but the two became redundant and nothing was showing the rest of the steps well. So set the table became set the temperature or set the oven and voila thats what we have. So the icons are Ready - get the dish ready by mixing the ingredients, Set - Set your oven at home and put it in, Dinner - enjoy the meal. And the concern over the oven knob is one that I already have - even with the tic marks does it still not get across the idea of setting an oven? Not necessarily a literal translation, but just the idea.

Dan - Sorry - I was asking about the retro type - were you just referring to the type in #2 & 3? What I call the I Love Lucy look? I'm not altogether sure about that font myself - especially with two big competitors doing the 50's kitch thing.

Now the owners of the place that I work are both soccer moms - they are "everyone's demographic" - young, upper midclass, drive SUV's, very attractive, stylish, career oriented , the whole nine yards - and they "got it" (they weren't in on the concepting, but they do know what the company does).

There is also the question of differentation - since these ladies will be franchising this across multiple cities (louisville, chicago, maybe stlouis) in the midwest - it needs to be differentated well from the competition which have used things such as, steaming dishes of food, dinner bells, a single plate, 1950's kitch, etc. Oddly enough - the chef's hat is the only clic

sbarlow's picture

Hugh -

Thanks for the detailed explanation about the co. . .

I think everyone might be commenting on #5 because it is by far the most successful logo. Although the timer may not be instantly recognizable, IMO all of the images you are using in the "boxes" work well. I am not sure about the font, I would like to see you try some other choices; you also might want to think more about the color . . . I "like" the colors and I like the concept behind them but something to keep in mind is that blue is the "least appetizing color" (it seems that might be a bit magnified when used in combination with that shade of green) -- i would say the overall feel of the colors do not represent food/dinner/appetizing. They do, however, communicate the aspect you mentioned about dinner not being a chore . . .

About #3:
I am just not sure about this one . . . reminds me of the television show Bewitched. Perhaps with a different font the overall logo would work better, i am not sure. I agree with Scott, just the spoon makes me think of soup.

This one is the weakest of the three IMO -- it looks very generic. Not crazy about the font . . . overall, this one just looks cartoonish, childlike.

I personally thought the icon of #2 worked well (the next best after #5), perhaps you could try combining the feel of the icon of #2 with the concept of #4.

dan's picture

Hugh, although its been used a million times i like the chefs hat versions, the reason being it implies quality food. You don't want this to come across as fast food, but convenience food thats quality. What I think you could work on is the type and the colors. The one everyone is responding to comes across as to corporate looking (for my taste)

squeeze's picture

RE: Colors - I would've agreed with Daniel on this pre-Martha, but now I think it is very appropriate for DIYers.

RE: Type - The current type doesn't really bother me. I guess Chalet 1960 ( might work well, but I don't know that it would be any better

hughfire's picture

The client has it all narrowed down to two which I will be tweaking and posting tonight or over the weekend. It is the 3 icon idea and the box concept (the one that looks like a jar label)

Customer requests were to pump up the color a little on the 3 icon and she needs to see the tweaked oven dial - she's not sure she's sold on that being the middle one - she thought like I did and one other poster here that the plate could be in the middle and some sort of food at the end - I told her it felt a little redundant and she kinda understood that, but I may still need to show here a proof.
She liked the typeface (futura) but wasn't sure about all lower case - I told here it made it feel infinitely less formal and accentuated the circular shapes that are echoed in the icons. I may still have to show her - I may also play with a similar font, but I really want absolute circulars to keep it open as well as echo the circles in the logo. Scott: the Chalet was an excellent suggestion I love that font as well! Might add a little more flavor while keeping it in the same feel or possibly kabel or avant garde I just need to look at them

After seeing the concepts - her partner recalled seeing another logo similar to this on another sight (untrademarked) - it had been pretty poorly done, they felt, so they hadn't listed it with their competitors that I should look up - therefore - how suprised was I to find something similar to his already out there. The other logo is not focused on the process as this one is and is rather more "homemade" looking. They aren't sure if the logo will be franchised or not, but from the look of the site - it is probably a regional only company. The owners of teh company didn't seem too uncomfortable with the situation - they weren't sure it would be a problem, but I don't know if that is just because they want to be done with the process or if they really don't feel competitive with this other group. Our account rep for them feels like ours is different enough that we should go with it - and I do feel that with branding and style we will be differentiated enough that there won't be confusion which is the goal - but there is that "pride and plagerism" and honor among theives thing that I don't want to be ripping off someone else's logo. What are everyones thoughts about that?

On the second one they like it because of its similarity to their old logo and that it is different than any other one.
I am going to also play with fonts. Scott - I hear what you are saying about the smooth rough contrast, but a really want a fun feel to this one with type that almost feels like its part of a salad being tossed or ingredients being mixed - think Muppets' sweedish chef - but I may be off base there - gonna try spumoni and maybe a few others - I may hate them - any suggestions for something that will have a similar fun feel but may be a little more streamlined? also the colors will definitely change on this she felt it was a little too old feeling for her so we will try it in some brighter colors. Their colors historically have been blue and orange and they really would like to stay there - already have the floor and walls done in those colors and are building a second one with those specs - we had the conversation about a fesh coat of paint being a heck of a lot easier than trying to force colors that may not work for your branding down people's throats and she relented, but wants to at least give it a try.

So - there we are - going to work on those two concepts tonight and over the weekend. Thanks for all the help so far.

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