In the summer of 2019, we met Ben Sharrett of Bristol Branded Leather Co. through his Etsy page where he sells high quality leather goods such as wallets and field note covers—both of which we purchased from him and were astonished by how amazing they were. We began to chat more with Ben and learn about his business and decided to help him with a small branding round where we took his existing brand and refreshed it and built out a new diverse look and feel.
Bristol Leather Co.—formerly Bristol Branded Leather Co.—is a small leather business based out of Bristol, Tennessee. All of their goods are made by hand of the best leather and as they say on their Etsy page, "their leather good s won't break the bank". The business is run by Ben Sharrett, a bank teller by day and an accomplished leather smith by night. Ben crafts all of his goods right in his home and hopes to one day be able to work on BLC full-time.
When we first started talking with Ben, he had a straightforward brand. He had hired someone locally to help him create a simple logo, but that was it. So we decided that we needed to develop for him something known as a responsive brand—a visual brand that agile and adaptable to the needs of the brand as a whole. We knew that if we create a responsive brand for Ben, that he would be able to use it more effectively than what he currently had.
Another small but significant change came in our early discussions about the business's name "Bristol Branded Leather Company," a mouth full right? We thought so too, and surprisingly, so did Ben. We suggested to him that it might be better to simplify the name and remove the word "branded" altogether. With our name, we even shorten it to Blue Cyclops when we discuss the studio because a four-word name can take too long to say.
We decided to start small at first and take a look at their existing logo. With the original bison mark that they had, we remade it and cleaned it up but decided to keep it as an element that would remain consistent between the initial branding and the refresh. With that settled, we started the main design phase by updating their existing badge/lockup that they used with a new set of typefaces and a bit more information. This first creation became the inspiration and guiding star for the rest of the brand.
From there, we figured out a rough structure of what we would need to create a responsive brand and started building the elements and ideating. Not everything we created was ultimately used, but we did create a lot of explorational items and in such a short time.
One thing that we also wanted to do was expand upon the color palette for the brand. Originally, BLC only had one color—brown, the color of leather—but we wanted to have a more diverse color palette with a variety of applications. The resulting color palette is bright and vibrant but still holds to the brand it represents and the products it makes.
At the end of the day, we were able to create for Bristol Leather Co. a fresh and responsive brand that they could truly be proud of just like the amazing leather goods that they create for their customers. We're hoping that in the very near future we can work with Ben on accomplishing his goal of running his business full-time which we're sure will be very soon.
One thing that this project showed us is that we hope to help more small business owners like Ben achieve their dreams through the work that we do.