In a city where the word “bluff” instantly evokes a certain connotation – Memphis is The Bluff City, after all – and has been appropriated in a number of slogans and business names, differentiating the newest entry into the Highland Row revitalization began by defining The Bluff not in topographic terms but by referencing gambling, i.e. “to bluff.”
The challenge was to strike a balance and not be too on the nose; we were not out to recreate a casino nor did we want to confuse our demographic by suggesting a too-literal gambling story. Located near the University of Memphis, The Bluff is a concert venue and sports bar featuring a Cajun-influenced menu. Customers are coming for music, food and sports. Our branding took shape through referencing the musical aspect – probably the most important feature of The Bluff – by incorporating a treble clef-looking note into the “B” in the logo lettering.
To complete The Bluff’s story, we had to weave throughout the branding the nod to gambling. We gave it context with a clever play on words – the slogan, “Don’t Gamble With Your Nightlife” – and imagery. A red and black color palette for brand collateral complemented the rustic-industrial interior of what was once a theatre housed by a neighboring bar. The expanses of wall demanded robust art; after finding some cool Prohibition-era photographs of gangsters and gambling, we had the artwork reproduced onto wood and mounted the large-scale images throughout the almost 8,000 square foot venue. We went big, literally and figuratively, and the payoff is an incredible space that fulfills its promise of a good time.
The Bluff City has hit the jackpot with addition of this new venue, and The Bluff’s success is in the cards. Farmhouse was their ace in the hole.