Cold Zero
Brand Strategy / Brand Expression / Packaging / Web Design
Supporting Veterans
The Brief
Can a new logo get more people shopping?
The Opportunity

Cold Zero is an American-made and veteran-owned premium spirit company created by members of the United States Military Special Operations community. After the founders were referred by another client, they approached FUEL with a logo and name in hand and asked for help designing sales materials to help market its whiskey and vodka. FUEL went above and beyond by helping them develop a more holistic brand for the company – a brand that would put them on a more rapid path to success.

Brand Strategy

While we didn’t take the clients through the entirety of our proprietary brand development process, FUEL helped Cold Zero compile and organize the company’s vision, associations, beliefs, and other vital components of the brand into one master document.

Three strategic themes emerged that would inform many of the design and writing decisions along the way. Having grown tired of drinking Russian vodka, the founders set out to create the best tasting whiskey/vodka and would build the brand around three key pillars: 1) Founded by Patriots. Enjoyed by All; 2) To give back to other veterans/nation’s heroes; and 3) Cold Zero is the next great American tradition.

Polaroid of veteran
Warrior Rising patch
Cold Zero shot glass

Brand Identity

While FUEL did not design the original Cold Zero logo, we refined key elements such as the American eagle, dagger, arrows, and embellishment to tighten up the presentation. In addition, we adjusted the typography/font selection by correcting the proportions to be used in designs across a variety of touchpoints like the bottle/label, website, and shipping cases.

Brand Expression

Typographically and texturally, we wanted the brand to feel very American. We would also home in on key attributes like masculine, dark, serious, and rugged to tie into the founder’s Special Ops background. The brand’s colors share a military connection.


For the brand’s flagship Whiskey and Vodka packaging, FUEL treated these as companion pieces. Our designers borrowed stylistic elements from the military. The die cut nods to the cross hairs, and the scale of the logo draws the eye on shelf.
Cold Zero Whiskey and Vodka packaging
For MOH Reserve, we felt the bottle should present the requisite respect and humility befitting the heroes. The designs took cues from the Medal of Honor, while premium finishes like blind emboss and gold foil were tastefully used to reinforce the premium price.
Medal of Valor

In the booze business, cases are free media. FUEL recognized this as an opportunity to boost awareness of the Cold Zero name. To achieve this, the word mark was pulled from the logo in a way that was bold like the brand’s soldier founders – they hold nothing back.

Cold Zero packaging point of sale display

Web Design

When our relationship began, Cold Zero had a one-page website and asked us to give it a refresh. After some tinkering, it was not much of a jump to build out a more complete site. This helped to solve some of the original’s shortcomings, while the added space allowed FUEL to devote more space to telling the veteran-owned brand story.
Dynamic animations added drama to the experience. The Shop feature was added to allow sales of branded merch, and space was added to the Our Partners page to promote their impressive list of non-profit relationships so customers would know how their purchase was helping veterans. There was even room for cocktail recipes showing how to make the perfect drinks for toasting those who’ve served.
Man holding phone looking at Cold Zero cocktail recipe


The branding was brought to life through a range of collateral and marketing materials, including Point of Sale.
Cold Zero collateral


Excellence Award | Sales Promotion

ADAI 65th Annual Design Exhibition

Excellence Award | Online / Interactive

ADAI 65th Annual Design Exhibition

Excellence Award | Sales Promotion

ADAI 66th Annual Design Exhibition

Bill Bollman
Creative Director

Bill Bollman is FUEL’s Creative Director. Before co-founding FUEL in 2001, he worked for Horizon Communications, JW Morton and Basler Design Group. Bill studied Illustration at Hawkeye Tech in Waterloo, Iowa. An expert in the “old ways” of hands-on print production, these skills influence his work in the digital world to this day. His work throughout his career has been featured in international publications including Graphis, How International Design, Communication Arts, and The One Book as well as numerous design annuals and reference books.

Hometown: West Union, Iowa
Involved in Design and Marketing since 1988
Interests: Fitness, Travel, Movies