Luke's Diner | Skillshare Projects

Joe Ernst

Graphic Designer



Luke's Diner

I've been watching Skillshare videos for about a year and learned a little bit along the way, but I'm challenging myself to actually follow a class and complete it start-to-finish. I thought Simon's would be a great place to start, even though the class is an older one.

My wife has always loved the TV show Gilmore Girls, and through osmosis it has become one of my favorites as well. A main haunt for the star characters is Luke's Diner, a simple, welcoming diner in small-town Stars Hollow, CT. I took Simon's advice for a brand and plan to design a logo inspired by Luke's classic and no-nonsense approach to his diner.

I knew I wanted to attempt a vintage/heritage feel right off the bat. The diner sits in Luke's father's former hardware store, and Luke has purposefully kept as much of that look intact while running an entirely different operation inside. Luke has a sentimental appreciation for times past, and I imagine he would appreciate branding that called to mind his Dad's old store and a generally simple, straightforward and timeless approach. Additionally, Luke always wears a baseball cap and enjoys baseball, so I do think a traditional script calling that pastime to mind in a subtle way would be within his range of appreciation. 

I wanted to incorporate a traditional kind of script lettering while staying away from anything too flourishy or dramatic. A few sketches look fun below, but I couldn't see Luke really taking to them for their flair/playfulness.

I've included two thumbnails as my main inspiration. I've thought of additional words pulled from the show, like "Strong Coffee" and "Good Food" (the latter appears on the windows of Luke's diner in the show in a sort of baseball script). 


While I like a lot of the approaches above, I'm responding most to this particular layout:


I've layed down the basic outline with the pen tool here:


I like the shapes of the letters in "Diner," I built them from rectangles and merged them together and rounded a few corners. This is heavily inspired by the small green "Diner" thumbnail in my sketches image.

"Coffee" and "Good Food" turned out looking surprisingly like Gotham, so I really want to tweak those somehow to be more unique.

"Luke's" looks okay right now but I intend to play with the thicks and thins as opposed to a monoweight script.

Here's a look with some weight added overall:


I also added a hairline stroke inside "Coffee" and "Good Food" which I think really helps those letters.

I outlined the stroke on "Luke's" to play with the thick/thin adjustments but found that where the parts of letters overlap (like the loops in the L and K and S) the shapes immediately merge. I think I need to go back and slice those stokes into individual pieces so I can adjust?

Attempting to integrate thick/thin strokes: Proving to be more difficult than Simon lets on! I'm not very pleased with the result so far, but I'll have to take a break and come back to it with fresh eyes. It's looking too "ribbon" like at the moment. Any suggestions?


After about a two-week break, I've returned to work on this. I've removed the L-s connection and made the L a bit larger. I've also condensed the letters so they aren't as wide. Still working. Thinking about the Luke's -> DINER relationship, not sure if they compliment one another or compete...


I played with removing the DINER as it's been above. Seems to fit better if "Luke's" is the dominant word:


I like seeing it in the tail of the L, feels more traditional and baseball script-y, but still feels serious which I've tried to keep.

I've played with the Roughen technique and rounded out the corners. I'm really liking this look more compared to my original. I could definietly see this on a door, hanging sign, shirt, etc.


Here's a look at the logo with subtle vector texture using the "medium" and "strip tear" files Simon provided.


Decided to rotate the lettering to get a more balanced baseline, and adjusted "diner" so it still stood vertically. Also changed out the supporting text to Overpass Bold and roughened with the rest:


Tried the raster texture effects:


And, vector texture for this one:


I'm really liking it! I'll come back later and see if there are any more edits I'd like to make. It's too bad I didn't take the class when it started, I could really use feedback and critiques. Thanks for looking!


After a few weeks of a break, I revisited and still wasn't satisfied. I tried to work on the relationship between the tail of the L and the word "Diner".


And decided on this direction:


And worked on the vector roughening & raster textures to get that "Simon Walker" look...


I like it much better now, looking back and forth. Time to make some tee shirts and coffee mugs.

Thanks for looking.


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