© Drew Templeton | 2013

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Project Type: Branding, Web Design & Development, Design, Photography & Video

Scope- Mercadito Hospitality needed a brand built from the ground up for their new San Sebastian style pintxo bar, Barcito. Everything from logo design and development, to the bar's mascot, color palette and menu design.

This is some insight into the thinking behind the branding and what helped forumlate these strategies.

Barcito was a fun project from the start. Any concept revolving around drinks, light-hearted fun and the bar food of bar foods is good by me.

The company knew an overall direction they wanted to take the concept, but how to execute that direction visually was a different story. The place needed to resemble an authentic San Sebastian style pintxo bar, but it also needed to incorporate that bit of Chicago, city-esque flair that the customer base is accustomed to.


I started coming up with colors, font treatments, design styles and elements that I thought fit the direction. After the construction and a few menu tastings, the branding direction became more clear with every sight and bite. Graffiti artist, Erni Vales came in and painted an eclectic sort of spanish words to spice up the environment. The colors he used on the walls set a light bulb off to use as the main palette for the bar. They were light, fun, and set the exact mood the place was going for.

Barcito's wall - setting the tone for the brand's colors

I knew the concept needed some sort of unique typographic element. When researching San Sebastian pintxo bars, the fun and unique vibe came from the simplistic, yet eclectic design elements.

These typographic elements were used everywhere, on the menus to the chalkboards inside of the bar.

Typography on the chalk boards, and a few funny quotes to lighten the mood

It had to be "hole in the wall" meets "new and trendy."

I chose the fonts and typographic styles with this in mind. It bridged that gap and stood out enough, but wasn't too over-bearing that it stole the show. This style was used for everything from the menu design, to the chalkboards in the bar, to the website, marketing promos and more. It was a unifying element that threw the new-school flair into a well-grounded, old-school Spanish concept.

Another fun element to Barcito was the use of the mascot, Pintxo. He was brought in as a voice for the Twitter account and his familiarity, self-assurance and self-proclaimed popularity were fun to design around. I drew Pintxo and wanted it to have that older, European drawing style, with the black shadow lines and the statue fixture that Pintxo sat on.

This little guy has a mouth on him


Using the design elements I created, the website really did seem to fall into place. The most relevant information for the visitors (hours of operation, menus and photos) were placed in the most visible areas of the site. Pintxo's Twitter feed was also given prime real estate in order to promote Pintxo and create some brand awareness for him. The site also features a responsive design with set break points to change from a three column layout, to a one column layout for mobile devices.

With 30% of the site's traffic coming from mobile devices, a responsive layout was key.


Barcito's Website - Desktop View

Barcito's Website - Mobile View


The photos taken for Barcito needed to fit the theme of the concept. For the food, it needed to not be meticulously placed, but the imagery still needed to be crystal clear and mouth-watering. The photos of the space and the scene needed to depict the atmosphere and make Barcito come across as the kind of place you'd go to kick it, or maybe drink one too many beers.

Sean Brock - Amigos De Pintxo

Estrella Damm Photoshoot

You Say Bar, I Say Snack

Paul Kahan - Amigos De Pintxo


Pintxo was used as the main character for all of Barcito's video. I animated him in a fun and purposefully non-realistic fashion. This added to the comedy created by the dialogue and kept the tone light. These were fun to make and definitely added a lot of value to the brand.