Back in 2018, I did the rebranding on the Kings Arms Theatre pub in Salford, but I never did a blog, so here it is.

As a regular there they knew me well as my graphic design work for other productions had already graced their walls. When it came to their rebrand, they just had to ask.

Rebranding of the King.

The venue is pretty unique, being a great real ale pub, and also a theatre. Many times I've sat in the bar, watching it fill up in seconds as the sold-out show upstairs has its halftime break. It's a grand old place bursting with fresh new talent (The sitcom Fresh Meat was filmed there).

Above the bar is a stained glass window of a king. Not sure which one, but it was a starting point. For the rebrand, I took what was already there and gave it a bit of modern pop.

I got a lot of great feedback from Lisa, who commissioned the work and suggested the tattoos of local legends.

Using the same forms from the window; beard, robes and crown I created sketches, simplifying the stained glass into line art and turning the king to face and embrace his subjects. A new king with a broad smile who likes to put on a performance. (in my mind he sounds like Brian Blessed!).

Since the rebranding, the pub has launched its own ale, the Queen's Legs. Does the queen have hairy legs or is it the King in drag? I'm afraid even I can't reveal that.

John Cooper Design and illustration
John is a Manchester-based freelance designer and illustrator with worldwide clients.
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