A little over a year ago, when BANDITS was just an idea hatched on the back of a Bali motorbike, I was browsing Instagram for potential logo designers. When I happened across Ben Kocinski’s feed I immediately knew – this was THE guy. A vintage, weathered-looking cowboy (that Ben created as a tattoo for a friend) jumped off the page with the look and feel of what I had envisioned as a “Bandit.”
After a quick correspondence and a few small tweaks, Ben delivered the final logo in October 2017, and BANDITS was officially born. It may sound strange, but seeing Ben’s logo was the first time I really believed that BANDITS could be BIG. It so perfectly embodied the spirit of my original mission that it made my idea finally feel like a “real business.”
The image that birthed a BANDIT - this tattoo Ben designed for a friend caught my eye and inspired our logo
Now it’s a year later and BANDITS is more than just a “real business,” it’s booming! The online store has been live for 6 months, we’ve sold out of initial inventory on 4 designs, our products are sold in 20 stores worldwide, we’re on the verge of launching a second collection, and we’ve generated close to $2,500 for the 7 incredible charities in our first collection!
After Ben did such great work on the logo (and helped to launch our brand) I knew I HAD to get one of his original designs for the first collection, and once again he created a classic. Using every element that makes his work unique (vintage-inspired design elements, simplicity, and a hint of mystery), Ben’s navy blue “Good Luck” design quickly became a BANDITS best-seller.
Ben's earliest BANDITS logo sketches, a few tweaks later and a brand was born!
Keep reading to learn more about Ben, his design, and the amazing charity he chose to support. PLUS, be sure to read all the way to the bottom for special savings on “Good Luck” for the holidays!
The Artist – Ben Kocinski
Kansas City based illustrator and graphic designer Ben Kocinski was one the very first artists that I reached out to when we hatched the idea for a bandana brand supporting artists and charities worldwide. I had followed his work on Instagram for a while, and each new design he posted was better than the next. From the moment I saw his first rough pencil sketches of our BANDITS logo, I knew it was a match made in graphic design heaven. His BANDITS logo and “Good Luck” design helped to transform the brand from idea to reality, and for that I will be forever grateful.
Loads of vintage logos made by Ben for a wide range of brands
Ben was born and raised in Minnesota. After graduating high school, he went on to receive an Associates Degree in Design before spending the next four years touring the country within the hardcore music scene. That time period shaped how he approaches everything in his life, especially art. His work now reflects a middle ground between the underground subcultures he is a part of and the demands of the industry he now finds himself in.
Ben told us that he takes cues from design and typography from the 20s, 30s, and 40s, and indeed his creations feel transported from a bygone era. True to form, he still draws most of his illustrations by hand before digitally converting them. Preferring to do things the “hard way” instills a hand-crafted feel into “Good Luck” and all of Ben’s work, creating timeless, indelible designs full of emotion, texture, and mystery.
Ben's Design Work for YETI
Ben’s logos, illustrations, and designs have appeared on work for brands like Yeti, Knickerbocker Manufacturing Co., Sable Bourbon, and others.
To learn more about Ben and to check out his other incredible work:
The Design - "Good Luck"
Our "Good Luck" bandana designed by Ben Kocinski
Per our discussions with Ben, “Good Luck” is inspired by trying times in life and the ways in which we find comfort or hope to get through them. Whether you believe that “luck” in life comes from a higher power, a secret society, a destiny, or a horseshoe in your back pocket, it’s safe to say that no one wants their “luck” to run out. In that sense, all of these talismans, beliefs, and ideas are one in the same – our universal human longing to find something, anything, to help us improve our lot in life.
With a just two colors, a few vintage-inspired illustrations, and a pared-down line design, “Good Luck” expertly captures that feeling, that yearning for the unanswerable mysteries of life. What really creates anyone’s “luck”? We may never know, but we’re all tied together as humans by that “not knowing” – which makes us all the same when you really think about it.
What I DO know is that I and everyone at BANDITS are very lucky to feature Ben’s work as an integral part of our launch and first collection.
The Charity – reStart Kansas City
reStart KC provides housing and supportive services for homeless men, women, youth and families in the Kansas City area. reStart is the ONLY homeless agency in Kansas City serving all homeless populations—singles, couples, gay, straight and trans-gendered individuals, and unaccompanied youth ages 12-18, as well as non-traditional families, persons with HIV/AIDS, and individuals recently released from prison or from psychiatric hospitalization.
Since 1981, reStart’s goal has remained the same—to end homelessness in Kansas City. This ambitious goal has made reStart a leader in innovative approaches to ending homelessness. Their innovation has opened doors to all homeless persons in need. In 36 years, the overnight shelter turned non-profit organization has grown and served more than 28,000 homeless individuals, including over 11,000 children and youth.
reStart Volunteers collecting Thanksgiving turkeys to help feed homeless individuals in Kansas City
Ben chose to support reStart because of his experiences seeing the unfortunate conditions many homeless individuals are forced to live in around Kansas City. Particularly during the harsh Midwestern winters, organizations like reStart are integral in providing much needed shelter, support, and services to these extremely vulnerable members of the community.
Links to learn more about reStart Kansas City:
The Most Exciting Part
BANDITS is honored to feature Ben’s design and to have been able to contribute over $400 USD (so far) to reStart Kansas City. But I’m not stopping there! Not only is BANDITS re-stocked on “Good Luck” inventory, I’m also making it easier for you to grab one before they’re gone again!
In honor of “Good Luck” being this month’s featured design, BANDITS is giving you 10% OFF all November long! Just use code GOODLUCK10 at checkout to get your discount. Even if you’ve already got one, why not save on a second and send it to a friend? Make sure you act quickly though, because we’ve got limited supplies and the “luck” might run out soon!Click the discount code above or go HERE to grab a “Good Luck” bandana of your very own!