Dirty Dog Rebrand

Identity and Systems for a Cap-Hill staple.
Dirty Dog Hot Dogs was a small fleet of hotdog carts before the Pandemic. Forced to downsize, the owner/operator Binyam, is ready to start again, but wants to have a distinct identity as he expands his business. How can we build a brand identity that will resonate with Dirty Dog’s customer base and what scalable deliverables or systems can we design to attract business?


Branding & Layout


65 hrs Jan - Mar 2021


InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Blender


For this project I collaborated with other students for research before splitting off and working separately. Using a Brand Deck and moodboards we defined Dirty Dogs’s brand pillars as Unpolished, Fun, and Comfortable. I wanted to preserve the authenticity and sincerity of Binyam’s hard work. He learned cooking from his grandmother and wanted to continue her legacy by bringing people together with food. I decided the best way to do that was to make Dirty Dogs feel like a well worn and well loved space. Layers of paint reveal a history and warm light provides an oasis of comfort on dark nights. WIth this aesthetic, I had to be careful not to edge into anything that felt grimy, or worse, disingenuous. 

One of the first ideas I had was for the Logo. I wanted to play around with an old, no frills, red Neon sign. I wanted it to be anachronistic and direct: a beacon of light announcing: “Food, here.” A neon sign is so synonymous with affordable food and humble settings that it is still emulated today long after actual neon has been phased out.  I tried a lot of alternatives but in the end the final product ended up very close to the original sketch.

The logo informed choices later on in the project and the concept of light and repurposed materials came up again and again. The cherry red of the sign became the flagship color while the slightly retro feel informed type choice. The biggest deliverable for this project was a brandbook. In the end it ended up being over 75 pages and included, among other things, photo direction, type, color options and proper usage, and rules for displaying the logo.

I wanted the remaining deliverables to be immediately useful to the client and able to grow with them as they scaled up. A small business like DDHD doesn’t have much capital to spend on branded materials. They either need materials that are durable and built to last or  are super cheap and easy to mass produce. I enjoy creating efficient systems, so for this client I built a system of deliverables that all link together: a series of posters, reminiscent of the band posters around Caphill, with a QR code that takes you to the DDHD site. The landing page of the site has a map that displays the current location of the cart and a link to get directions from your current location. As you approach the cart, there is an oversized sandwich board with a light up logo to draw the eye on rainy Seattle nights and make browsing the menu easy while you wait in line. Finally, after you pay there is a loyalty card, with the same QR code on the back so that you can always find the cart again, even if you can’t remember the site url.

I had fun working on this project. However, the only feedback came from my fellow students and professors, so I consider it incomplete. Next steps would be to present the material I have and incorporate feedback from Dirty Dog. I’d also like to explore more deliverables. A branded food truck, employee uniforms, and apparel merch are all obvious choices, but I would also like to consider stretch goals for this business including what a brick and mortar establishment could look like.

Let's work together.

Thank you!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form. Please refresh the page and try again.