The Nelson Trust is a charity dedicated to helping those in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. Understanding that the local community was lacking a space that was safe and healthy for people in recovery, the project to open Cheltenham’s first alcohol-free bar began. The Sober Parrot wishes to support ex-addicts by training them in various staff roles at the café, offering them the chance to give back to the community, rebuild their lives and strengthen their employability.

ASHA sought to create a brand that would establish a comfortable, welcoming and dynamic environment for those looking for an alternative venue to those serving alcohol. The Sober Parrot needed to appeal to a wide demographic, including families, faith groups, local societies and under 18s, in addition to people working in local offices. During the evenings, The Sober Parrot introduces live bands, comedy nights and open mic sessions, therefore it was important for the brand to promote those events and work together with the interior décor to create a funky, relaxed look and feel for the venue. Inside, a feature wall of posters leading up to the events room promotes the late night entertainment offering. The posters use a pastiche of styles and language to contribute to the eclectic, vibrant feel of the venue.

The visual language and tone of voice needed to reflect the pragmatic, upbeat personality of the brand in communicating with the public in a friendly, approachable way. Each poster advertises a mock event using the language of recovery e.g. ‘Dubstep Night – 12 steps in the right direction’.

ASHA came up with the generative idea ‘keep it real’, which is expressed throughout the printed elements of the brand as well as in the utilitarian environment. A fundraising, takeaway booklet of ‘Dry Facts’ was produced, containing a number of stark and honest truths, accompanied by simple, iconic illustrations about addiction and how it affects our society whilst also outlining how The Nelson Trust is providing a solution.

Business sector – Not for Profit



An important part of the project is how tone of voice works playfully to engage customers in the wider function of The Sober Parrot. So, an attractive offer is coupled with a no frills, practical delivery. For example, the coffee clutch stamp reads ‘Hot Beverage – Now easy to hold’, staff aprons help flaunt ‘Delicious Cocktails, Now Hangover Free’, the coaster is printed with the motto: ‘Stay Dry’ and sandwich wrapping advertises ‘Tasty Treats…Now with a free bag’. This tone of voice portrays a sense of honesty and authenticity, thus helping the brand to ‘keep it real’. Instead of opting for pre-printed takeaway packaging, the brand returns to the old school process of traditional inks and stamps, contributing towards the sense of a practical, down-to-earth approach.

Overall, the branding of The Sober Parrot communicates the unique nature of the venue to its audience whilst creating a distinctive, new and appealing voice in the wider leisure offering of Cheltenham.

Since the launch of The Sober Parrot, The identity has proved successful in bringing a range of new customers to this alcohol-free venue, which now hires out spaces to local community groups and workshops and has started running its own annual wellbeing festival.

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