Turning a Dark Horse Into a Winner

Not content with creating the best bar in town, our friends at the Celtic Cowboy decided to build the best wine bar in town—right downstairs. Located in Great Falls’ oldest commercial structure, the Celtic owes its inspiration in part to the building itself. Opened in 1889, the cellar of the Arvon Block served as a livery, stabling draft horses below street level. Which made Darkhorse the perfect name for the Celtic’s wine bar and event space.

Our job was to create an identity to communicate all of that history—in a single image. Stables and western motifs aren’t the first things that come to mind for most wine lovers in search of an elegant setting to enjoy a glass. But we found a way.

portfolioimages_ha3Darkhorse digital billboard

Print ads

As a name and as a concept for an underground drinking establishment, Darkhorse should inspire a bit of intrigue as well as elegance. During construction, workers uncovered two wooden planks with the names of actual horses who’d been stabled there. So we build our identity around that image, with a pair of imposing black horses facing each other. And what’s in between them is the wine.

Darkhorse Visual Mark

The negative space between the horses’ profiles is a single bottle of wine that’s just been uncorked and ready to enjoy. This hidden element in the logo is symbolic for the Darkhorse itself: a secret, enclosed space containing something great.

Print collateral and online pieces expanded on the charms of the Darkhorse space, using rock wall textures, exposed wooden beams, and the brass gratings of wine club members’ private lockers to visually tell the story.

portfolioimages_ha1 Darkhorse Brochure, outside spread

portfolioimages_ha2Darkhorse Brochure, inside spread


Ink, Pixels, Work