TRURO – Ben Brush is a Truro artist but you won’t find his name on his work. He’s working behind the scenes to shape the brands behind some of Colchester County’s most successful businesses.
“Every business has a brand, whether they manage it or not,” explained Brush. “But a good brand is one where you’re controlling the message you’re putting out there.”
He started designing professionally four years ago while studying online and working in screenprinting. Today he’s the head of design at My HOME Apparel, as well as a freelance designer with Ben Brush Design.
While he’s been hired for all sorts of different design, he said it didn’t take long for him to develop an interest in branding.
“Investing in branding is one of the best business decisions you can make,” said Brush. “Your logo is basically the receptacle for everybody’s thoughts and opinions on your business.”
His portfolio is a who’s-who of local brands. He created Truro Head Start Preschool’s crayon rocket-ship logo, Truro Buzz’s cute little bee, the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition’s new look, and the adorable building illustrations on Local Love Truro’s map of downtown.
Brush also designed the modern new logo for NovelTea Bookstore Cafe, after they approached him to rethink the one they’d be using.
“They launched with a logo, but I think they found it wasn’t completely capturing what the business had grown into,” said Brush. “They wanted to create a brand that captured what the business has become, and everything their customers held dear about the place.”
His crisp black-and-white logo for NovelTea features a novel with a cup of tea above it, and – here’s a secret for the next time you see it – Brush says the book is actually a curly bracket turned sideways.
As if a full-time job and a busy freelance design career aren’t enough, Brush is also the owner of Nightcrawler Goods. The quirky enamel pins and iron-on patches he designs are sold online as well as locally at My HOME Apparel.
He believes in keeping all of his designs as intentional – and, often, minimal – as possible.
“There’s nothing more than what’s necessary in the designs,” said Brush. “They’re simple and versatile, and that really seems to speak to people.
When he starts working with a new client, he puts together a creative brief to determine the essence of the business, the principles that guide them, and the existing customer opinions.
“If I go on social media, I can see the most common words people use when they’re talking about that brand and see how it’s perceived,” said Brush.
From there, he works with his client to come up with concepts for a brand mark and supporting materials like social media images, a colour guide, and typography.
He says many small business owners assume hiring a designer for custom branding would be way out of their budget, but that’s not the case – if anything, it just might be a shorter process.
“The process can be dictated by the available budget. It’s just a matter of adjusting the scope,” said Brush. “A smaller budget might mean fewer rounds of revision where we make changes, but you can still get a great logo.”
Brush offers free consultations if business owners are curious about his services or wondering if their logo could use a refresh.
“If you’re flipping through a phonebook or looking online and you see three plumbers, and two have terrible logos but one is really clean and on point, you’re going to choose them instantly as the most professional of the group,” said Brush.
He says bad branding – or a lack of branding – can make it difficult for customers to remember you.
“Small businesses really depend on returning customers, so those customers need to remember them easily and quickly,” said Brush. “I love getting to work with tons of really interesting, cool businesses – locally and from other cities – and making them memorable.”
For more information on working with Ben Brush, visit benbrushdesign.com.