NBC's America's Next Great Restaurant (Sunday night) shows contestants walking into a design studio, meeting with a graphic designer for the first time, and while looking over the designer's shoulder, they watch their logo get designed in a matter of minutes. It doesn't work that way in real life. Thankfully!


The contestants and judges both comment on various logos not looking very good. There were two exceptions; one was a logo for a wok theme that turned out well. The other was for a taco bar that had been designed before the show even started.

Our job as logo designers includes more research, development, and multiple options to ensure a successful result. 

  • Research - We use surveys and interviews to get to know our customers and their organization. We find out about their community and the demographic they are appealing to. Most importantly, we understand what message needs to be conveyed when customers see the logo.
  • Development - The development stage includes being aware of what similar organizations are doing and asking ourselves how we can be different, unique, and better. We come up with dozens of sketches, looking for great ideas and applying different styles so the strongest ideas are developed and executed well.
  • Multiple Options - We may start with 30-40 ideas and narrow them down to the strongest concepts, but by the time we're done we present the client with the best 4-6 ideas, and based on client input refine the chosen logo until it's a great fit.

I'm sure the designers who worked with the aspiring restaurant owners really are good designers, but it's unrealistic to assume great, or even good design, can come out of whipping out a logo in a few minutes. This is another case of reality TV giving the wrong impression. Great design comes as a result of experience, and hard work. It doesn't happen in minutes, but hours and usually weeks or months for each project. 

See the logo results in this 3 minute video: www.nbc.com/americas-next-great-restaurant/video/ep-102-first-business-challenge/1313706