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How to Create New Business Branding, A Case Study


How to Brand A New Business: A Case Study of The Haunted Game Cafe from Business Launch Through Year Five

Launching a brand new business can be difficult because the owners have a lot to do. They may even be working part time or full time at other jobs during their new business start-up phase. Finding the right new business branding, like logo design, business colors, fonts, and the look and feel of the business, is part of the business start-up process. Getting these right can help you create people’s reactions before they even start to do business with you. Today, w’ere going to talk about how to create the new business branding from an actual start-up of a real business.

The Haunted Game Cafe is a really creative board game store and coffee house, begun in Fort Collins, Colorado, in Fall 2009. What makes it unique is the fact that they sell coffee and drinks long with boardgames, the decor is bright and friendly with a wide wall of windows, purple walls say friendly to most people in many demographics, and Open Game Library that let’s customers try out new games before buying them.

For their new business branding, they chose the themes spooky, vintage Victorian, not Halloween, gory, nor bloody. It includes Victorian-style wall stencils, and fun color mixes. For instance, the walls are dark purple. Other walls are a mix of dark purple, red and blue, with gold stencils overlaid. Some ceiling tiles in the coffee house area are an aged-brass color, with period-styled molded ceiling tiles.

The original logo work was begun with other agencies, and that’s how the coffee cup in the web logo came into being.
Cup Web Business Logo New Business Branding Graphic Design

The store owner contacted Dan Seese Studios to create a spectacular exterior sign. Together they created the sign with the bat wing shape, and gilded lettering. The store font is similar to Hightower. We took this font to create the window sign later.

New business branding store sign Haunted Game Cafe graphic design

We were testing a new banner sign for below the exterior sign.

So future graphic design and branding work had to fit with the existing branding and the owners’ direction. We designed and created a “Ghosts Wanted” large banner sign to gather interest before opening.. The scroll work, spiderweb and bat shape was created using Adobe Illustrator. The bat shape was modeled over a real bat wing, from a photograph found on the internet, and then duplicated to make it a full image from left to right. The bat was merged with a black rectangle for the sign middle.

New business branding and Promotion and Help Wanted for the Haunted Game Cafe in Fort Collins Colorado

Promo and (Spirited) Help Wanted for the Haunted Game Cafe

We created a 3-fold, 2-sided business marketing flyer with a dark blue background to give it a spooky feel, plus Victorian art details like these scroll-work photo corners, and dividers. We used Yataghan font on the photo descriptions and titles, matching fonts that were in use in-house. Hightower font in regular and italic was used to resemble the exterior sign, whose font was in outline. The teal is made to resemble the aged copper from the exterior sign. The flyer was printed, and used on the website as a digital PDF download, in both full color, and were later modified to be black and white and 2 sided, for less expensive reproduction and easier at-home printing by customers, and again to be a one page flyer.

new business branding and graphic design marketing in Fort Collins, 3 panel flyer, brochure design for business marketing

This brochure’s front is on the right, with the quotes pulled out large to highlight them. The far left panel is the second panel seen during the unfolding. The center map panel is the very back of the brochure design. Note the Victorian elements like photo corners.

Designed the entire graphic design for this new business branding design of 3-panel flyer from scratch for The Haunted Game Cafe. Imported some Victorian design elements to match the board game store's theme.

Designed the entire graphic look of this 3-panel flyer from scratch for The Haunted Game Cafe. Imported some Victorian design elements to match the board game store’s theme.

The graphic design for this bat-shaped board game review sign, similar to those found in bookstores.

We designed two different customer VIP cards. The first was designed using Adobe Illustrator. The bar code (printed in the bottom space), worked with the POS system to track rewards.

Preferred Customer Card in new business branding, graphic design for the Haunted Game Cafe.

CuPreferred Customer Card for Very Important.. Ghosts! Haunted Game Cafe (Bar code will be added at bottom.)

The second one, much more creative, was requested to resemble the old Ouija board game, supposed to contact spirit world. The font used looks like the American Old West, and indeed that was the Victorian era in America. We started with colorful coffee mug and game piece in the corner, but then muted them down to match the existing brown and black colors. We talked with the store owner about making the ink stamp (that goes over the numbers) into a “planchett”, similar to the original board game.

preferred customer tracking card, graphic design for new business branding and launch by Diana Sproul of

This rewards card was designed in our graphics software to mimic an old spirit-contact board. We matched the center font and colors. The stamp for each number was made into a pointer shape, to also resemble the game. The mug was also created to match the branding graphics.

We have done several ads over the years from simple black and white to more elaborate color ads. These mostly appeared in high school newspapers, whose rates are more reasonable than local papers.

New business branding, how to design new business graphics, dark puple bat holds a coffee cup in his feet while flying with wings outstretched. Decorative photo corners from Victorian era. Purple bar at bottom contains address. Tag line: open boardgame library, great coffee drinks, ravenous zombies. The last is crossed out and replaced by Helpful Staff.

This custom four inch square newspaper ad was designed in Adobe Illustrator for print use. The bat was designed by another artist, and converted into vector art by me. Note the adherance to branding (purple, tag line, coffee mug), Victorian photo corners.

The bat was designed by another artist, and then painstakingly converted into a vector graphic design by us, then colored. This same art was adapted for use on the mug seen above, where the print area is quite small.

In Spring 2014, we created the graphic design, and set-up the business e-mail marketing program, using the bat wing exterior sign logo, and added spiderwebs to the outside corners. We painstakingly added all the social media marketing links to the top and bottom of the e-mail, and (similar to the flyer) added Victorian art elements as article dividers. We thought the red background made the e-mail more vibrant. (See April’s graphic design e-mail newsletter)

In early 2014 The Haunted Game Cafe sponsored Cult Movie Night at a local theatre. It was our first foray into large screen ads, with several versions to test the ads each month. We proofed that it looked good in person, by visiting.


Also in 2014, we began to trade advertising free with a local indie bookstore – Facebook mentions, event cross-promotion and bookmarks for them. We have similar customer demographics, but do not compete on products. We offered free bookmarks (seen below) to their customers with Haunted branding.
How to brand a new business, business marketing design and creation, Haunted Game Cafe Flyer one page vertical

How to brand a new business, Bookmark created as part of new business marketing design and branding, in Fort Collins, Colorado

Bookmark graphic design for business marketing, in Fort Collins, CO

The Haunted Game Cafe sponsored local hospitals in a gaming fundraiser for four years. The event required graphic design of a large donation check, themed with ghosts & Victorian decoration in the background. The check was laminated to be usable for multiple years with a write-on/wipe-off pen.

New business branding, graphic design of enormous large donation check, business marketing materials graphic design, where to get a large check created

Enormous donation check, 36″ by 60″ approx.

We also created several table top signs to announce events, get social media sign-ups & reviews, and larger signs to announce new foods.

new business branding, Victorian font, business marketing, how to do create business graphics, Sign announcing new breakfast foods, size approx. 10 x 14".

Sign announcing new breakfast foods, size approx. 10 x 14″.

Table Top Sign, approx. 5 x 7"

Table Top Sign, approx. 5 x 7″


Now that you’ve read about Sproul Creative, what about your project? What can we design for you? Feel free to call me right now at (970) 988-5413, or use our handy contact form, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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