When you’re starting or relaunching a hospitality business, it’s essential to commission high-quality graphic or digital design from the outset. This will provide your business the best chance of success and set the scene for a great customer experience. A professional designer can help to create an overall look and feel for your hospitality brand, as well as signalling to customers the quality, price, and style of your business. In this article we’ll discuss all the advantages of high-quality graphic design for your hospitality business.
Inspired by the hospitality interior design
Design inspiration can come from many places, and in hospitality, it often comes from the team of designers working on the hospitality interior. The design of a hospitality space can be a great source of inspiration, as it can provide clues about the style, mood, and tone of voice that the business is trying to achieve. The interior colour scheme, textures and finishes all provide a rich source of inspiration for digital design.
A graphic designer will:
- Understand your customer and the type of experience they are looking for
- Work with you to develop a brand and visual style that is consistent with your interior
- Design a professional brand including logos, colour palette, design assets and guidelines on how they can be used consistently across your business.
- Help you create a brand that reflects your hospitality specialism and sets you apart from the competition – design signage, wayfinding, wall artwork, menus, clothing, van signage and marketing promotions.
A digital designer will:
- Design and develop a website that works well on all types of devices.
- Design and develop a booking system that is simple and easy to use and integrates with any POS systems you have.
- Design your social channels and provide reusable templates.
- Design your online marketing advertising campaigns.
A colour palette made bespoke for your hospitality business
Colour is essential when creating a distinct branded customer experience. You want customers to have a positive association with your brand, and the use of colour can be very impactful in achieving this. A hospitality designer will often start by creating a palette of colours that reflect the style of the business or that are inspired by the local surroundings. The selected colours will then be applied consistently across the whole project from the website to menus and signage.
A unique, colourful place: The Thatched Tavern, Maidencombe
The Thatched Tavern enjoys a distinct colour scheme inspired by the natural coastal environment. We collaborated with the client, Stephen, and went to Maidencombe with digital design front of mind – we knew that the website would be one of the first interactions the visitor would have with the pub and first impressions count, so it had to be vibrant, striking and rich with colours.
A site visit is critical to research and understand the business, the target market and visitor demographics and to gather inspiration from the surrounding environment. We took photos of key features such as the thatched roof, garden, beach and the sea which inspired the graphic design process. Our client had a dream of being a local gastropub with a difference, and it shone through in the colours selected that were used on the digital marketing channels and website.
Setting the scene through digital design
The client was determined to create a gastropub that had its own distinctive characteristics but wasn’t too “over the top” because the pub must fit within the community and complement the local area. We created a perfect balance between a strong, trusted brand with a distinct look and feel, but without the appearance of a chain pub.
Designing an authentic brand
It’s essential to create eye-catching digital brand assets that don’t rely on templates – clients often want to have the trust that a high-quality brand provides, while creating a unique customer experience that is only available at their establishment. The use of colour, typography, and photography all play a part in creating an authentic brand that reflects your hospitality business style and values – without the mass-produced feeling of stock templates, which can be easily overused. Marketing materials are essential to the customer offer, and we create flexibility in our digital design brand kits and brand assets to allow for future marketing activity.
Important project elements
The look and feel
The design process starts by exploring a range of different design styles, each with a distinctive look and feel. In terms of designing for a pub, we’ll create concepts suitable for the demographic – whether that be a very traditional pub, a gastropub, or something much more modern and edgy. We collaborate with the client to listen and take on board all their feedback to help shape the visual design of the initial concepts.
Logo design and branding
Once we have agreed the style and direction of the concepts, we make refinements and design the final brand – this includes the logo, typography, colour palette, design assets including any illustrations or patterns and brand guidelines on how it can all be applied consistently in real-world applications such as menus, websites, and social media.
“We show clients what the logo would look like on example signage, business cards and website – so each customer can see exactly how the logo and the design concept will work for them.”
In the case of The Thatched Tavern, we knew that the aqua colour that featured prominently in the restaurant interior would work well set against a gold colour and would create a strong brand – which Stephen fell in love with. The aqua colour pulls in the feel of the nearby ocean, and the gold is a classic, trusted pub colour.
“We have had so much positive feedback about the brand colours, people message us wanting to know about the interior colour and the brand colours because they work so well together.”
A fast and performant Website
Customers will often decide on where to visit based on first impressions, especially when visiting a website. If a website looks engaging, friendly, is fast to load and provides easy access to the menus then you will have got their attention. Proving an online booking form that is easy to book a table is imperative. Any follow up emails to the customer should be friendly, concise and well written. The website we designed for the Thatched Tavern scored 9/10 when judged by the Devon Tourism Awards panel and the positive feedback was that it is engaging, enticing and well designed with the customer journey first and foremost.
Quality design sends signals to your customers
It’s important for a community pub to look the part, warm and welcoming, accessible for all. It’s important to consider your current custom, and style your digital design with that audience in mind. In the case of The Thatched Tavern, they attract local people, holidaymakers, ramblers and dog walkers, coasteering enthusiasts and paddleboarders. They wanted to keep the community atmosphere with an active, family feel that is respectful to the local environment and local activities.
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Digital design must communicate the offer
The most essential brand message from The Thatched Tavern is about the quality of the food and the local offer. The design of the menu is especially important – it needs to look appetising and reflect the high quality of the food on offer, as well as be easy to read. We worked with The Thatched Tavern to design a menu that was both striking, user-friendly and inspiring. The result is an elegant piece of graphic design that helps communicate of the quality of the food, without being fussy or difficult to read.
Visual communication is essential
Communicating your brand message visually is important because it’s the first thing that potential customers will see. In the hospitality industry, first impressions are everything – so it’s essential to make sure that your graphic design is send the right message about your business.
Hospitality design starts with digital
Often, your hospitality business will advertise your brand and offer on social media, sending your proposed customer to your website to look at your photo gallery and menus. This means that your digital presence is the very first impression your customer will have and the start of the customer journey with you. The digital design needs to be high quality, so the logo and typography needs to be optimised to work well at different screen sizes and look great on high resolution displays.
Signage, wayfinding and outdoor advertising all starts with your digital designer
You may invest in local outdoor advertising, the first thing your customer sees when driving past is the sign with your logo and colour scheme. At The Thatched Tavern, the exterior pub wall features a seal illustration, and the interior features the aqua blue colour, the gold lettering and that flows from entrance and into the bar and restaurant. You see a brand-reinforcing design on the menus and wall artwork, and in the bespoke wallpaper that we designed.
Digital designers are real creators
The wallpaper is a real talking point, and so distinct to The Thatched Tavern. Inspired by the outdoor English Garden, our designers wanted the garden to flow from the outside, through the pub, and onto the walls. The wallpaper is a real Thatched Tavern signature design element because it’s entirely custom-made and an important characteristic of the pub’s look and feel.
“The owner, Stephen, is really impressed with the signature wallpaper, because the team of digital designers made it just for The Thatched Tavern – it’s unique to them, and nowhere else. You can only get that level of detail from a digital designer.”
Hospitality designers always put the customer experience first
The start of the customer journey is the responsibility of the digital team. The customer discovers your brand on social media, they click through to your website. From the colours to the language used and the overall tone of voice – all these elements are set by your digital team. Creating a cohesive customer journey that starts with graphic design means that customers can move seamlessly from one touchpoint to another without the customer journey feeling disrupted.
Your graphic design commissioning checklist
When you’re commissioning graphic design for your hospitality business, make sure to ask for:
- Samples of previous work or a portfolio that demonstrates a range of graphic design styles
- A detailed quote that outlines the cost of the project, and any additional costs such as revisions
- A mood board or style guide that reflects the overall look and feel of the graphic design
- A timeline for the project, from concept to completion
- A contract that outlines your rights to the graphic design, and any restrictions on use.
Digital designs are an investment
When you commission a designer for your hospitality business, you are investing in someone who understands how to create designs that reflects your brand and sets you apart from the competition. A quality digital or graphic designer will collaborate with you to create a concept, visual style, and graphic design that meets the needs of your customers and helps you achieve your business goals.
Interested to learn more?
If you are thinking about starting or rebranding a hospitality business, get in touch with us to discuss how we can help you create a stunning digital brand. From developing the concept, to creating graphic design, and digital marketing – we’ve got you covered. Ring us on 01803 295959 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a same day response.