Asking the right questions is key to good graphic design for bars

Chanel Liquori

Chanel Liquori has worked hospitality for over a decade, and is well placed to understand the graphic needs of new bar owners. Here, the Melbourne-based designer with a focus on hospitality, gives Sam Bygrave some pointers on developing a graphic identity for you bar.

You’ve worked in the hospitality industry — how does that experience inform your work?
I think it helps in terms of the questions I ask when creating a brand for clients.

Form versus function is very important in hospitality design — If I make a beautiful looking menu, but it doesn’t work in the space, I asked the wrong damn questions and I didn’t do my job right.

What goes into creating a graphic identity for a new bar? What are some considerations first time owners need to take into account?
I think the most important thing for a first time owner to know, is what their bar will be and what they want it to say about them. 

Who is your demographic? What kind of bar will it be? What offerings will you be focussing on? What makes you different?

Having a clear idea about this is so helpful to a designer to create something for them that is unique to their tone of voice.  

What are some of the key things you think about when working on the branding for a new venue?
I guess I take the answers to the questions above and then develop from there. I consider competition, demographic, bar trends, and the bar’s personality.

I also think about how elements of the design can be implemented elsewhere, to create a cohesive look throughout a venue. 

If it’s a brand new site, working closely with the interior designers helps a lot too!

Is it crucial for new bar owners to invest in getting a professional designer to work something up for them, or is it something they can do themselves?
Oh man, Sam — what kind of question is this? I think it is crucial, yes — but I would say that.

Look, it depends on what you want. A good designer takes a lot into consideration about your bar before they even sit in front of the computer to create something. That is what you are paying for. If you really need to do it yourself, just stay away from the clipart.  

Have you got any suggestions on how to find the best designer for the job?
Word of mouth has been second to none for me. Find bars with branding you like and ask who did their work. Alternatively, my email is hello@chanelliquori.com.