Branding Barbusa


BARBUSA holds a very special place in my heart. It was the second restaurant I ever branded, so it was a BIG DEAL that I had gotten them as a client!

I remember meeting PJ and Joey Busalacchi and their Dad at Po Pazzo, which would become BARBUSA months later. We sat at a booth towards the front, where I still always sit when that table is available. The meeting took place around noon on a bright, sunny day. Construction had started already so it was really dusty in there.

The brothers told me about the family’s Sicilian heritage and their history in San Diego. They described their vision for the new, rebranded restaurant. They showed me some images of ideas they had for furniture, a living plant wall, and checkered tablecloths.

I went home bursting with excitement about the project. For the next few weeks, I worked on the brand identity and menus in my living room, where I did all projects at the time. (Swipe to see my original logo concepts & menu design.)

Fast forward a couple months to the soft opening of BARBUSA. Walking up to the restaurant for the first time was magical for me. I looked up and saw the logo I had designed in big, black glossy letters, which looked terrific against the freshly painted white building. The restaurant turned out exactly how the brothers had described it, yet somehow better. 

To understand BARBUSA’s charm, you really have to eat there. It’s dark and cozy and the fragrance of food makes your mouth water. The waiter—who are always Sicilian—are very friendly and knowledgable. The food changes but it’s always tremendous. I especially love the crudo bar and the pastas, which you can see them making from scratch at the back of the restaurant. I always ask my server for a wine recommendation and it never disappoints.

If you’d like to experience BARBUSA for yourself, it’s located at 1917 India St. in Little Italy, San Diego. Make sure to tell them Gretchen sent you!

x, gretchen


I’m Gretchen Kamp.

I'm a graphic designer turned business owner & branding specialist who lives in yoga pants and is fueled by pizza and red wine. I am a soon-to-be fiancé to a handsome nerd, and a mom to a goofy snaggle-tooth rescue dog. I love traveling and teaching other female entrepreneurs everything I've learned in the last three years of full-time self-employment. When I'm not in my design studio, you can find me at Cyclebar, or galavanting in San Diego with my semi-insane girlfriends.

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