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Branding Ben Sollee

Crafting an authentic and approachable brand for Ben Sollee, a Kentuckian, musician, and activist.

Branding + Art Direction + Web Design + Graphic Design
Branding Ben Sollee

The Challenge

Maintaining approachability while adding a sense of refinement

Ben is a proud Kentuckian who has distinguished himself as multi-faceted creative, blurring the lines between music, tech, and activism. As his career continues to grow, he's moved from a local to a national stage. Working on a wide range of projects, from major motion picture soundtracks to performing in live theater productions, he still finds time to teach, mentor young musicians, and give back to his community. He was deserving of a brand identity that would maintain his signature approachability, while simultaneously elevate his brand and give it a sense of refinement and professionalism.

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The Concept

The Kentuckian of the World — Here. There. Together.

Ben's brand identity was inspired by the bold type and large color blocks found on old-school gig posters and colorful ticket stubs.

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The texture of hand-printed ink on toothy paper stocks and the imperfections in the letter alignment highlight the personal, hand-crafted element that characterizes all of Ben's work. Large, crisp color blocks and bodies of text neatly aligned to grids bring that extra hit of refinement and polish.

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The wordmark is based on Garage Gothic, a letterpress-inspired display typeface with clear, bold letterforms and the characteristic rounded corners of many wood type specimens. We made custom alterations to the wordmark, the most notable of which is the staggered height of the L's, which gives the wordmark movement and represents the uneven landscape of the Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky.

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The handwritten element shows off Ben's personality and emphasizes the authenticity of his brand.

The delicate-yet-bold tulip poplar leaf underscores his roots and commitment to the great state of Kentucky.

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The colors are inspired by traditional, vintage paper stocks as well as the natural Kentucky landscape; night skies, red clay soil, weathered paint on barn doors, and pure white wildflowers.

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