Kentucky is full of good things. Bourbon. Horse racing. The Appalachians. Birthdays. Oh, yes, I said birthdays. For my client, Amanda Haddaway, turning 40-years-old was more than a celebration. It was the birth of a new business venture. You see, in honor of the big 4-0, she and her husband, John, hit the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Each distillery they visited was unique. Yet, there was one thing that kept repeating itself—the way everyone along the trail described that warm feeling you get when you take your first sip of bourbon. They lovingly called it the “Kentucky Hug.”
The rest, as they say, is history. Literally. Because history (and a shot or two of coolness!) are the foundation of the Kentucky Hug apparel brand and its identity suite. With it, lovers of bourbon and the Bluegrass State have a whole new way to express that love. And it’s pretty damn smoooooth.
The Kentucky Hug aesthetic marries tradition with premium-yet-approachable style. The brand was designed to embrace any level of bourbon enthusiast while respecting the tight-knit community, integrity, and passion that are the backbone of what is, without question, a true American original. There’s plenty of legacy and lore in the Kentucky-borne brown liquor. Likewise, there are plenty of hidden (and not-so-hidden) historical references in the identity design:
+ Reportedly, the name “bourbon” came from the French Bourbon Dynasty and its House of Bourbon coat of arms is showered in dozens of fleur de lis. This was the inspiration behind the identity’s brandmark. I illustrated the mark based on the fleur de lis that sits atop the king’s crown in that coat of arms. I was careful to make this fleur de lis completely unique to Kentucky Hug, working in the double entendre that is two mirrored K's.
+ The tagline, America’s Spirited Apparel is more than a play on the word “spirit.” It is derived from the Congressional Resolution designation introduced in 1964 for bourbon: America's Native Spirit.
+ Each of the seven secondary marks has plenty of symbolism, each with its own story. Here’s just a taste: The KH Placard: Based on historic, industrial placards, it showcases the line "Small Batch Apparel”—a play on the craft and how the KH brand is anything but mass produced; The American's Spirited Apparel 18 Seal: Not only was the Kentucky Hug apparel brand born in 2018 but bourbon itself was invented in the 18th century; The Kentucky Hug Signature Seal: Because O’s represent hugs and X’s represent kisses, we have Kentucky embraced inside the O and for the X, the star marks the spot of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
Warm up with a Kentucky Hug. After all, everyone needs a hug sometimes.
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“We love working with Lisa! Lisa is an exceptionally talented creative designer who exceeds my expectations every single time I work with her. Her concepts for our brand identity are even better than I had imagined. I definitely recommend Lisa for your brand development, logo design, and other graphic design projects!”
Amanda Haddaway — Kentucky Hug Owner