50 Great Brands in Bristol
Bristol is a fiercely independent city with hundreds of unique shops, bars and cafes. Walking around the city, you’ll see a range of signs ranging from the beautiful to the witty, to the gloriously strange. In fact, you can learn more about the city in our Bristol facts article.
As marketers in Bristol, we’re always on the lookout for unique and interesting branding, whether it be an engaging strapline or a punchy logo. Brands need to be instantly recognisable, engaging and inviting. Here, we’ve rounded up 50 great examples of marketing in Bristol.
1. The Stable
This Waterside venue serves up sourdough pizzas and ciders and is a favourite with locals and visitors alike. Every Stable location has a different menu depending on the ingredients and cider available locally.
The Bristol Stable has been stripped back to its brick walls for an industrial warehouse look and has an open kitchen that stretches the length of the building.
Their message is simple “Pizza. Pies. Cider. ” We liked this one because it doesn’t try too hard. By having these words over the door, it immediately gives the customer an overview of what this restaurant is about, and what you can expect from it.
2. We The Curious
Formerly known as @Bristol, We The Curious is an interactive centre in the middle of Bristol that describes itself as an ‘indoor festival’.
Visitors are encouraged to ask questions, be loud, touch the exhibits, laugh and be playful, making it a favourite for all ages.
One of the messages that We The Curious is constantly trying to promote is the need for curiosity, which is why the message on their website: ‘What Makes You Curious?’ fits so well with their brand. Users are encouraged to add their question to their ‘map of curiosity’ to help shape the future of We The Curious.
3. Bristol Aquarium
Bristol Aquarium has over 40 naturally-themed aquatic displays that feature all kinds of marine life – from brightly coloured clown fish to tropical sharks, piranhas and even an octopus!
They are also the only aquarium in the UK to have a giant botanical house, known as the Urban Jungle that’s home to hundreds of exotic plant and tree species from around the world.
Their message is inviting, encouraging customers to ‘Discover the Wonders of the Deep’ – an exciting prospect for an inner-city attraction!
If you’re looking for a DVD, record or book, Fopp, located at the bottom of Park Street opposite College Green, is the place to go.
You can guarantee that you’ll leave with more than you came for thanks to its bargain prices and wide selection of products.
Their message is clear: ‘the best music, films & books at low prices’. In an age of digital downloads, you can understand why Fopp highlight one of their main attractions – the price point – in their marketing message.
5. The Last Bookshop
Another shop that includes price points in their marketing messages is the Last Bookshop. They have various messages in their shop window including ‘Any 2 books £5’, ‘Any 4 books £10’ and ‘£3 bookshop’.
Owners Jake Pumphrey and Nick Walsh chose the name as a tongue-in-cheek rebuke to those who thought books would become obsolete with the rise of the internet. The shop opened in 2011 so they have done pretty well considering!
6. The Bird & Blend Tea Co.
Bristol is home to many, many coffee shops, so when Bird & Blend Tea Co. opened on Park Street it was a refreshing change.
The message is clear. By billing themselves as ‘Tea Mixologists’, the Bird & Blend Tea Co. instantly separate themselves from the common cup of tea – something that most people would be happy to make at home. A ‘Tea Mixologist’ sounds exotic and, similarly to a cocktail, the type of drink that really needs to be made by a professional.
7. Bristol Beer Factory
Look up the Bristol Beer Factory logo and you’ll see it looks slightly different to what you see here. It’s not entirely clear whether the horizontal line across the middle of the glass and the words ‘Half Full’ are an official addition or an impulse scribble, but they definitely capture Bristol’s positive, can-do spirit.
We like the strong, graphic look of Bristol Beer Factory’s logo. A black and white colour scheme makes it easy to spot from a mile away, while the beer glass logo has been cleverly designed to incorporate the Clifton Suspension Bridge – one of Bristol’s most famous landmarks.
8. Bristol Museum & Art Gallery
Free entry and a neverending collection of things to look at make this Bristol institution a favourite on rainy days.
The ground floor is home to Egyptian mummies, the first floor houses an extensive collection of taxidermy (as well as the famous Gypsy caravan) and the second floor is where the art galleries are situated.
The message invites you to ‘Explore Our Art Galleries’. The use of ‘our’ feels like an offer from the whole of Bristol, making this not only a tempting proposition but an inclusive one.
9. Mack Daddy’s
Mack Daddy’s is a forward-thinking Bristol hair studio that’s known for its cutting-edge hair styling and colour.
The first salon was opened in 1998 and there are now four studios in Bristol, as well as one in Bath.
Their message: ‘Wear the Crown’ is elaborated on when you visit their website, where it boldly states: ‘Invest in Your Hair. The Crown You Never Take Off.’ We like this because it firstly orders you to do something, but then takes it further, giving you a reason why you should do this.
10. Za Za Bazaar
Situated on the Bristol Harbourside, Za Za Bazaar is a bustling all-you-can-eat restaurant inspired by the night markets of Asia.
Even the pickiest of eaters will find something they love thanks to the wide variety of cuisines on offer – including tex mex, sushi, salads, Piri Piri and pizza to name just a few!
By using a more upscale message and promoting themselves as a ‘World Banquet and Bar’ Za Za Bazaar cleverly distinguish themselves from the average all-you-can-eat style restaurant.
11. Workhouse Kitchen
From speciality coffee to smoothies and superfood salads, the Workhouse Kitchen offers all kinds of delicious seasonal fare.
Head past this busy cafe and you’ll see a selection of blackboards outside, highlighting various selling points. ‘Open open open’, ‘Eat in or take away’ and a sign with an arrow to the ‘Terrace’ showcase the cafe’s offerings while an instructional ‘Eat Clean’ will maybe make those looking for lunch think twice about the type of food they consume.
In 2007, BrewDog consisted of 2 employees and a dog. Fast Forward ten years and the craft beer company has over 1000 employees, a dog and 46 bars around the World.
Speciality brews include the Dead Pony Club and the Punk IPA as well as a constantly revolving selection of specials.
Although BrewDog is famous for ‘brewing hardcore beer for punks’ the Bristol bar has the slogan ‘Beer for Pirates’ outside – perhaps a nod to Bristol’s past as home to the most famous pirate of them all; Blackbeard.
13. Bristol Design Quality Woodworking Tools
Peer in the windows of this jam-packed shop on Perry Road and you’ll see all kinds of unique-looking tools.
The owner, Charles Stirling opened the shop in 1980 and it stocks such a range of tools that people visit from all over the country (and world!).
Although there’s no slogan as such, the shop front tells you anything you could possibly need to know, listing the types of tools available in a smart white font which reflects the practical nature of the shop.
14. The Better Food Company
Better Food originated as an organic vegetable box scheme in St. Werburghs and since then has gone on to become a small chain of 3 independent supermarkets in Bristol.
It focuses on organic produce with low environmental impact in a bid to make the city healthier and more environmentally friendly.
Their message very much reflects this. ‘Organic. Local. Ethical.’ isn’t just a business slogan for Better Food, it’s a way of life.
15. The Wild Beer Co at Whapping Wharf
The Wild Beer Co is a Somerset-based brewery who have recently set up this slick restaurant/bar in their ‘spiritual home of Bristol’.
Located in the shiny new Whapping Wharf development, the Wild Beer Co at Whapping Wharf has floor to ceiling windows making it the perfect place to nurse a pint while you people-watch over the Bristol harbour.
Take a look at the drinks menu and you’ll understand why they use the message ‘Drink WILDLY different’, which suggests that the customer won’t be getting a standard larger at the bar. Each bottled beer comes with tasting notes, ranging from ‘Lager + Smoking + Cherry Wood + Sage’ (Smoke ‘n’ Barrels Spring) to ‘Sourdough Culture + Oak Fermentation’ (Sourdough).
16. Salt & Malt
As the brainchild of Josh Eggleton, Salt & Malt originally opened in Chew Valley and since then has expanded to the hip and happening Whapping Wharf development.
It offers locally-sourced, gluten-free fish and chips and was awarded Best Fish & Chips at the Bristol Good Food Awards 2018.
By calling themselves a ‘Fish Bar’ in white capital letters against the glass shop front, Salt & Malt elevate themselves above the traditional chippy, suggesting at a more refined version of fish and chips.
MeatBox are organic beef farmers from Chew Valley that provide locally sourced meat to the people of Bristol. They argue that shopping with them not only puts money back into the local economy but also means the customer knows exactly where their meat comes from.
Of course, you’ll know all of this if you’ve visited their Whapping Wharf premises – their mission statement is proudly displayed on the outside wall of the shop, with the words ‘Eat. Proper. Meat’ in capitals.
By giving passers-by the instruction to ‘eat proper meat’, it suggests that if you don’t shop at MeatBox, you won’t really be consuming authentic, natural meat – in fact, you might not have any idea where it even comes from. In a culture where food sustainability is increasingly important, this can be a persuasive tool.
18. M Shed
As one of Bristol’s Museums, the M Shed is a free interactive museum that focuses on the dynamism of the city.
Fun Fact – the ‘M’ doesn’t stand for ‘Museum’, but actually harks back to the days when Bristol Harbour was a working dock, and the buildings were named alphabetically. As a former warehouse, the museum was called M Shed, and the adjoining workshop and collections store is the L Shed.
The logo for the M Shed features a big ‘M’ and according to Andy King, Lead Curator at the M Shed,”
There are nine different M’s in the suite of logos. Each has been carefully constructed using phrases from what real people have said in the past about their Bristol experiences, reinforcing that M Shed is about city conversations. It is the intention that these typographic M’s can be developed and added to as the museum opens and evolves. The typographic style of each one reflects the era from when each phrase originated.”
The Arnolfini is a well-established Bristol arts house that was founded in 1961 and showcases visual arts, performance, dance, film, music and events.
The main building is set back from the harbour’s edge, and in the summer you’ll see half of Bristol spilling out from the Arnolfini bar with plastic pint glasses in their hands. The wooden building in front of the Arnolfini is a work of art in itself. The name of the arts house is jutting out from the wood so that it looks different depending on where you stand.
20. Mud Dock
The Mud Dock is a Bristol institution in its own right and one of the original ‘concept stores’. The converted red brick warehouse was set up in 1994 as a bicycle shop/bar/restaurant and has gone continuously gone from strength to strength.
Mud Dock comes with the tagline ‘Fuelling the Human Engine’, which reflects the active nature of the shop, and the painted sign for Mud Dock is in keeping with the industrial roots of the building.
21. Coffee #1
Coffee #1 first opened in the coffee boom of the early noughties as a local alternative to some of the big chains. Since then they have gone on to win numerous local awards and have many stores around Bristol and the South West.
Their logo features a coffee cup, with that all-important swirl of latte art, and the ‘#1’ clearly visible on the side.
22. King Street Brew House
With Bristol being such a hub for local business, it’s no surprise that micro-breweries are becoming increasingly popular in the city. The King Street Brew House is an urban city centre pub that brews its own range of cask and keg beers – the perfect place for an after-work pint.
The Brew House logo features a letter-press inspired sign that reflects the independent nature of the pub. We like that it doesn’t feel too ‘matchy-matchy’, which is just how a pub should be!
23. Bristol Old Vic
What is there to say about the Bristol Old Vic that hasn’t been said already? As the oldest continuously working theatre in the English speaking world, the Bristol Old Vic is an instantly-recognisable Bristol tourist attraction.
Stylistically, the logo is plain, bold and doesn’t detract from the play that it is advertising.
24. The Old Fish Market
Slap dead in the centre of Bristol’s old town is the Old Fish Market, a pub that serves freshly-prepared food and a range of draught beer.
The red brick building features gold lettering, hanging baskets and streetlamps as well as a traditional hanging sign that harks back to a bygone era. We like how everything about the frontage of this pub has an old ‘pub feel’ – even down to the perfectly placed red postbox outside.
25. Five Grains
With a Middle-Eastern menu featuring fresh juices and their signature Manoushé, a Lebanese panini-style flatbread filled with a variety of options, Five Grains has become a popular Bristol lunch spot.
The cafe looks immediately inviting. Under the main sign, it reads ‘Bakes & Infusions’, and the window further hints at the types of infusions available, with a story of how tea became popular etched into the glass.
26. Burger Theory
Let’s get this out of the way first: Burger Theory have a bottomless burger club where for 2 hours, you can eat and drink as much as you like. Right now that’s been said, on to the marketing.
Burger Theory describe themselves as ‘The Creative Burger People’ – instantly differentiating themselves from the heaps of trendy burger joints that have sprung up over Bristol in the last few years. Their menu features creations such as ‘the Kimcheese’ which includes cheddar and kimchi and even vegan options such as ‘the Dirty Hippie’. Warning: Don’t look at their Instagram feed if you’re remotely peckish.
In the window of 1847 it reads ‘Welcome to Nature’, instantly giving you an idea of the ethos behind this plant-based, Scandi-inspired restaurant.
The sign hanging outside mirrors this and is made up of what looks like the sun and earth with the words ‘naturally’ underneath. We love that before even stepping through the door, it’s clear what 1847 is about: seasonal, fresh ingredients inspired by nature.
28. The Cosy Club
The sign for the Cosy Club not only looks great, featuring a royal blue and gold colour scheme but look a little closer and you’ll see it features the Bristol coat of arms, emblazoned with the Bristol motto, vitute et industria (by virtue and industry).
It’s a great way to pay homage to the city, especially seeing as the majestic building that the Cosy Club inhabits is an iconic Grade II listed former-church.
29. Watershed Bristol
As a cultural cinema and digital creativity centre in Bristol, the Watershed is the place for arthouse cinema enthusiasts on a Friday night.
The message is clear even from across the water, with signs stating ‘cafe/bar’ and ‘cinema’, although you don’t get a sense of the Watersheds independent spirit until you get a little closer, and see the cinema posters are less blockbuster and more indie flick.
30. Manos Liquor Bar
Located on the Clifton Triangle, an area populated with chains, Manos aims to appeal to Bristol’s locals by stating that it’s ‘proudly independent’.
We like how Manos isn’t shy to advertise its strengths. Painted signs read: ‘Purveyors of the finest liquor & good times’ and ‘Serving the finest range of beers, liquors and cocktails’. There’s an emphasis on quality – Manos know their audience and are marketing to them directly.
31. Sebright Printers
It might be because of the graffiti and promotional posters that cover the front of Sebright Printers, but this unassuming print shop seems to blend seamlessly into Stokes Croft.
Their telephone number is slapped diagonally across the glass doors while the sign is reminiscent of Scrabble letters.. but with more neon. Stokes Croft is a popular destination for artistic types, so Sebright is in the perfect location.
32. Rough Trade
Although it originated in London in 1976, Rough Trade now has four stores in the UK, with Bristol being one. The black and white sign is reminiscent of an old cinema or venue before digital screens came in, and because Rough Trade is a venue as well as a record shop, this works well. The fact that it sells vinyl, something that has a vintage association, ties in with the old-school lightbox signage out front.
33. Cafe Revival
Housed at 56 Corn Street in a beautifully grand Georgian building is Cafe Revival, Bristol’s oldest coffee shop. The cafe is over 200 years old and was once a meeting place for Georgian merchants although now you’re more likely to hear people gossiping over last nights telly than doing business deals and trades.
The sign out front features a decorative teapot with the name of Cafe Revival underneath. It also highlights the fact that it’s ‘Bristol’s Oldest Coffee House’. This is an example of Cafe Revival knowing their audience. They are located in Corn Street, which is a part of Bristol that’s popular with tourists – exactly the kind of people who would be enticed in with a fact like this.
34. The Lanes
The Lanes is a late-night Bristol venue that offers karaoke, bowling, live music, pizza and beer. What more could you need on a night out? The sandwich board sign out front capitalises on this, with a playful take on the much-used image of a look inside someone’s mind and what takes up space.
In this instance, the side view of a hipster-type man’s brain includes White Russians, Late Night Bar, Cocktails, Craft Beer on Tap, DJs, Live Music & Dancing amongst others – conveniently all things that the Lanes offers!
35. Rock n Bowl Hostel
If you venture around the back of the Lanes, you’ll find the Rock n Bowl Hostel. The sign protruding from the building is a circular red and white motif that has a 50s Americana look in keeping with the ‘Rock n Bowl’ message.
The sandwich board out front tells potential customers all they need to know highlighting that the hostel has beds from £15, 24-hour reception, fully equipped kitchen and a huge communal area – all things that will entice weary travellers in.
36. The Christmas Steps
With a white and black street sign mirroring the name of this tucked away pub, there are no prizes for guessing its location.
The Christmas Steps has a graphic gold font painted on the side of the building and an accompanying hanging sign featuring a blocky gold set of stairs. It doesn’t give much away – there are no drinks deals in the windows or clever slogan pasted over the doors. Instead, the Christmas Steps takes a more subtle approach to marketing, with a less-is-more approach that appeals to the customer’s curious side.
37. Chance & Counters
Chance & Counters is billed as ‘Bristol’s only dedicated board game cafe’, with over 600 games inside. The name itself is very clever, with a double meaning that needs no explanation and the smart, bookish font is in-keeping with the board-game theme.
With an idea this unique, the marketing pretty much takes care of itself. Look in the window and you’ll see board games stacked high. You can even rent-a-guru, who will turn up at your event with a bag of games and the rules committed to memory so you can concentrate on having a good time.
38. Sky Bristol
With a sky-coloured exterior and collage-style lettering, Sky in Clifton Village doesn’t give much away from their sign alone. However look at their window display and you’ll see a brightly-coloured collection of prints, cards, gift wrap and fairy lights that showcase exactly what they are known for.
Outside, a chalkboard style sandwich board explains this further, with the words ‘pictures & prints’, ‘cards’ and ‘framing service’ written bigger and bolder than the words that surround them. This makes it easier for the passerby to see exactly what Sky sells.
39. 20th Century Flicks
Originally located in Clifton, 20th Century Flicks relocated to its new home in 2014. In a world of streaming it’s a breath of fresh air and 20th Century Flicks has a collection of over 19000 titles, as well as a mini cinema that you can rent for up to 11 guests.
Outside, the sign reads ‘Twentieth Century Flicks Video Shop’ – by calling itself a ‘video shop’ it appeals to the nostalgic part of the people who would have grown up frequenting these kinds of places on a Friday night.
40. Weber & Tring’s
As with many of the premises on Christmas Steps, Weber & Tring’s specialises in the hard to find, the unique. In this case its fine spirits and liquors, with a focus on French wine from small producers. They even stock a range of bar equipment, antique glassware and cocktail books.
The bottle-shaped sandwich board out front makes the shop’s contents easily identifiable even from a distance and reads ‘Pedlars of fine spirits, liquors, wines, cigars’. This is accompanied by a lovely hanging circular sign above the door that features three cut-out bottles and a cocktail glass. Although you wouldn’t be able to guess what Weber & Tring’s sells by name alone, the signage makes it clear.
Beerd is another one of Bristol’s pizza and craft beer restaurants with a beer lab in East Bristol. Their logo very much capitalises on the fact that craft beer and beards go hand in hand, and by having a beard logo branding themselves as hipster-friendly (as this kind of facial hair is synonymous with the typical portrait of a hipster).
42. Bristol Porridge Project
Bristol is a proudly independent city, with cafes and shops that reflect this constantly popping up over the city. Perhaps nothing represents this better than Bristol Porridge Project, a small cafe dedicated to all things oats.
The sign features chipboard with ‘Bristol Porridge Project’ printed in bold black letters, giving it a makeshift but stylish look. There’s no extra information on the glass windows.
43. The Hatchet
Ask any Bristolian about the Hatchet and they’ll probably tell you one thing – the door is rumoured to be partly made from human skin. As the oldest pub in Bristol, the Hatchet certainly has a lot of history, and the Grade II listed building has signs reminding passers-by of this, reading ‘Bristol’s oldest pub. Established circa 1500.’
Having been bought by the Butcombe Brewery in 2017, today the pub offers freshly served food, with a sign proudly stating that they use locally sourced ingredients. The Hatchet is such a Bristol landmark that the traditional pub signs and Tudor-style exterior make it part of the Bristol furniture.
44. Mrs Potts Chocolate House
Chocoholics form an orderly queue for this exciting dessert bar on Park Street. Mrs Potts Chocolate House serves up a selection of chocolate-inspired desserts as well as decadent hot chocolate and spiced chocolate chai.
By calling themselves a ‘chocolate house’, Mrs Potts instantly add an air of authority that you perhaps wouldn’t get if they were a ‘chocolate cafe’. It’s a lesson in how a simple word can make a big difference when describing a business.
45. Sobeys Vintage Clothing
Sobeys is another lesson in how using less-common words, you can make a business stand out. The sign for Sobeys reads ‘Vintage and Reworked Clothing’. Note that they have used ‘reworked’ instead of the more common ‘customised’. It elevates the brand and differentiates it from the competitors.
46. Clifton Village Fish Bar
The logo of Clifton Village Fish Bar has been cleverly designed to look like the Clifton Suspension Bridge, only using condiment bottles as the towers either side of the bridge. In the window there are multiple marketing messages all referencing the quality of the produce, this includes: ‘Purveyors of the Finest Fish & Chips’, ‘Sustainably sourced fish’ and ‘Finest Quality British Potatoes’.
This is really essential considering that the fish bar is in the affluent area of Clifton. It shows that the Clifton Village Fish Bar know their audience as they have tailored their business, and their marketing messages, to reflect them.
With a soft pink, copper and dark grey colour scheme, Rhubarb in Clifton Village has their customer in mind from the get-go. The home store stocks candles, clothes, soft furnishing and ceramics, making it just the kind of gift shop that Clifton Village is so popular for.
The sandwich board sign out front advertises all this, which enables the exterior shop sign to be simple and understated – although take a peek in the window and it’s clear what rhubarb is all about.
48. Friendly Records
This independent record shop is based in Southville and stocks a range of vinyl. The logo features a record with a happy face and two thumbs up – a nod to the fact that Friendly Records bills itself as Bristol’s friendliest independent record shop.
49. Temple Studios
Temple Studios is an office space created especially for a new generation of business. It features break out areas, communal kitchens, outdoor space and those all-important coffee areas.
The reception area shows off the studios playful side, with ‘Knock knock, who’s there? No one! So try 07595002543’ written on the side of the reception cargo container. This kind of marketing shows that a business has some personality but still gets across the key information.
It’s almost impossible to guess what Freedog is simply by looking at the giant dog-shaped sign that’s plastered across the front of a corrugated red warehouse. Is it a kennel? Some kind of indoor dog-exercise centre?
The answer is that Freedog is a giant urban activity centre in the centre of Bristol that’s most famous for its trampoline park.
We like that the logo conjures up so many questions… why a dog? why the name? Seeking out the answers to these are a good enough excuse as any to get down there and have some fun!
There are so many great marketing messages in Bristol and thanks to the city’s unique spirit they go so much further than simply trying to sell.
Share with us your favourite in the comments below.