Business development / Design / Sports

The Barn lands ‘dream contract’ with pro hockey team

As a hockey fan himself, rebranding the Columbus Cottonmouths was a big deal for founder Nick Matarese.

The new logo takes the ice. (Photo courtesy of BLD Graphics)

As a former University of Delaware hockey goalie, Nick Matarese had a direct and personal connection with The Barn’s latest branding client — a minor league hockey team in Georgia called the Columbus Cottonmouths.
The Southern Professional Hockey League team was one of his dream clients. “I’m a big hockey fan,” said Matarese. We can confirm.
The team needed a full rebranding, from helmet to skate, after 20+ years of design neglect. “Their logo was in kinda rough shape,” he said.
The thing is, the Cottonmouths weren’t really looking for proposals. But Matarese noticed their design and decided to reach out. Initially the team wasn’t ready, that’s why it took about two years for the deal to close. “When we worked with the 87ers last year, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Matarese said, referring to the Philadelphia 76ers’ minor league affiliate. “We shared our work with them and that’s when they decided they were ready to move on the contract.”

Early sketches. (Photo courtesy of The Barn)

Early sketches. (Photo courtesy of The Barn)

Matarese wanted to make sure the Columbus community could relate to the design, so he incorporated the Chattahoochee River, which is a stone’s throw away from the team’s stadium. That’s why the design “ripples.” Then he wanted to incorporate landmarks. “The text is actually inspired by the Columbus Iron Works, they were like the DuPont of Columbus, Ga.,” he said. While the Iron Works has been shuttered for years, the facility is still maintained as a museum.
Even though the contract just ended, Matarese will always be a hockey fan. He maintains a relationship with the Columbus Cottonmouths and he also moonlights as one of the assistant coaches for the University of Delaware’s hockey team.
Branding nerds, curious what the rest of the concept looks like? You can look at the branding guidelines here.
The final product. (Image courtesy of The Barn)

The final product. (Image courtesy of The Barn)

"We customized the typeface used across all media for the numbering system and inlayed the snakeskin pattern. The devil is in the details." (Courtesy image)

“We customized the typeface used across all media for the numbering system and inlayed the snakeskin pattern. The devil is in the details.” (Courtesy image)

Companies: The Barn

Join the conversation!

Find news, events, jobs and people who share your interests on's open community Slack


Delaware daily roundup: DE in DC for 'Communities in Action'; diversifying the coffee supply chain; Invista's future

Delaware daily roundup: Where to cowork in 2024; Intertrust Group rebrands; the Visitor Bureau's new website

Delaware daily roundup: Bronze Valley Venture Labs returns; AI and SaaS' future; $200K for students' health careers

Delaware daily roundup: $80M plans for the EDA Tech Hub; Eastland Golf's $3.4M seed; don't drink the Kool-Aid

Technically Media