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Deep-Dishing Out Style

(October 2009) posted on Mon Oct 12, 2009

Harlan Graphics and FRCH partner on sumptuous graphics for Chi-nnati's restaurant.

click an image below to view slideshow

By MaryKate Moran

Those who drive by the new restaurant can’t help but try to sound out the name. Is it Chee-nnati’s? Shy-nnati’s? The moniker Chi-nnati’s (pronounced Shuh-nnati’s, by the way) is a cross between Chicago and Cincinnati. And if the restaurant can mix elements from the two cities, why can’t the graphics and signage do the same?

To match the whimsical, experimental nature of the restaurant, FRCH Design Worldwide and Harlan Graphics, both based in Cincinnati, created a variety of graphics that mix and contrast the Windy City and the Queen City.

It all began when a Chicago transplant decided to open a pizza place in his adopted hometown. FRCH  put shape and color to the owner’s ideas. Matt Wizinsky, FRCH’s lead designer for the project, says the client came to them with the name, the desire to create an authentic experience, but little else. “It was cool, both because it was local and because we were creating a brand from the ground up,” Wizinsky says.

Once similarities and differences between the towns were hashed out (Chicago cows vs. Cincinnati pigs, a mutual love of sports, cultures built around food, and so on), the graphic and signage concepts began to form. Which is when Harlan stepped in to make all those ideas reality. The two companies had worked together in the past, making the process smoother.

“Part of the reason we were awarded the project is because we could do A-Z in-house,” says Harlan’s Tom Wendt. This included not just the digitally printed graphics, but the illuminated signs, ADA signs, and a few architectural elements, not to mention installation of everything.

Harlan Graphics was there for the smallest details and the largest of the large-format jobs. And though Harlan worked on the Chi-nnati’s project for three months, all the signage went up in the final weeks, as per the owner’s request. Even with the vast array of graphics and signage that had to be installed, Harlan’s four-person team took just six days to install everything, both inside and outside.

Here, we’ll take a closer look at the extensive array of graphics that FRCH and Harlan Graphics partnered to create. Check out the gallery for corresponding photos. For more on Harlan and non-digital Chi-nnati's signage, click here.