Hip Brandin’ for the Celtic Cowboy

While we began designing the visual identity for Montana’s premier Irish pub in the summer of 2013, the project actually got started a bit earlier—in 1836. That’s when Robert Vaughn, who would become the first European settler in what would become Great Falls, was born in Wales. After a successful career as a rancher, Vaughn settled in the bustling frontier town and decided to build the “most advanced livery stable in the West.” The result was the Arvon Block, named for his daughter Arvonia. Today, it’s the oldest commercial building still standing in the city, and its current owners weren’t content with rehabilitating the structure to serve as a bar and restaurant—they intended to make its history an integral part of the brand. “Then and Now,” the title of Vaughn’s memoir recounting his life from pioneer to businessman in Montana’s early days, would serve as the owners’ mantra for the brand: respect the past; embrace the new. And that’s what we set out to create.

Celtic Cowboy Logo
The Mark
In creating the identity, we began with its namesake—Robert Vaughn. Wanting to embrace his heritage, we developed a woodcut illustration which speaks to his historical era as well as a sense of individual craftsmanship. The mark was then paired with a clean typeface to provide a contrast between the historic richness of the building and the modern amenities planned for the new restaurant and bar. The mark was organized into a concise badge, and the only remaining issue was how to include the line “pub and restaurant” in a logical way. Our solution was to draw from the building’s architecture, using a Maltese cross motif from the building’s facade as a plus symbol in place of the word “and.” Horizontal and vertical versions of the mark were created to use space available to the fullest for each appropriate application. The result is a mark, which like the business it represents, draws inspiration from the past to shape a new and unique experience.

Celtic Cowboy Sign
As part of the building’s exterior renovation, a traditional pub shingle was fabricated using the new mark, and build three-dimensionally to maximize the richness of the materials and design.

The mark is then carried through in the pub interior:

Celtic Cowboy Mirror

Celtic Cowboy Kids Menu

Celtic Cowboy T-Shirt

Celtic Cowboy Beer Glass

Vaughn Signature Beer Logo
Among the 25 beers on tap, the pub also offers one of its own, and Banik developed a mark for it as well.

Celtic Cowboy Print
Making the Brand Speak
Brands don’t end with a logo design, and we wanted to imbue the Celtic Cowboy with a personality all its own. Despite being rooted in a back story more than a hundred years old, we wanted the brand to be lively and accessible. Our work in print and digital ads embraced this approach by adding a touch of wit to the proceedings.

Banik also created the website for Celtic Cowboy, complete with interactive dinner, lunch, pub and children’s menus. The site offers a brief history of the pub as well as rich images of the interior and presentations of meals offered on the menu.

Celtic Cowboy Web 3

Celtic Cowboy Web 1

Next Steps
Not content to create a fantastic pub and restaurant setting, the Celtic Cowboy’s owners have plans to expand, with a wine bar located in the building’s original stables and a boutique hotel next door. We’re currently working on branding efforts for these great additions to the property. In the meantime, when you’re in downtown Great Falls, stop by and hoist a pint!




Culture, Ink, Pixels, Work