Amato’s Woodfired Pizza has served Central Ohio with authentic, thin-crust pizza for over a decade. Founded in Historic Downtown Delaware, the restaurant has also expanded into Marion and Mount Vernon. As a Delaware local and Amato’s customer, I knew the business would be a great fit for my final bachelor’s program project.
While Amato's consistently delivers high-quality food, its visual elements sometimes miss the mark. The company has a logo and some brand collateral, but it doesn't have a full-fledged identity. It could benefit from a rebrand, from its archetype and messaging to its interior design and social media strategy.
I set out to refresh Amato’s brand foundation and expression, creating a unified experience while maintaining what customers love about the restaurant. I addressed inconsistencies in the brand’s foundation, developed brand guidelines and deliverables, and selected a city for a new location.
Through my primary and secondary research, I established a new brand foundation that outlines Amato’s values, voice, atmosphere, messaging pillars, and more. With this information as a guide, I began to explore potential design directions through sketches and stylescapes.
I merged my stylescapes and developed a realistic, flexible brand guide. The brand’s new visual objectives– authentic, handcrafted, welcoming, and modern– informed every step of the process. Beyond the standard logo usage, palette, type, and treatments, the brand book also includes interior design elements like tables, lighting, and on-brand paint colors.
After establishing the brand’s visual identity, I shifted my focus toward researching the perfect place for a new Amato’s location.
My initial research led me to the Short North Arts District in Columbus. The consistent buzz and community-driven initiatives in the Short North aligned with Amato’s foundation. However, my plans changed when I interviewed the owner of Amato’s.
Through my conversation with Brad Hampu, we explored Amato’s history, values, and priorities. Some of the most important takeaways, however, were related to what the company looks for in a new location. These guidelines redirected my research, leading me to Pickerington, Ohio as a viable city for expansion. See pages 11–19 of the case study booklet for more details.
I kept the theoretical new location in mind as I redesigned some of the brand’s existing collateral and added new pieces to flesh things out.
The Amato’s rebrand helped me understand the importance of primary research. The interview and in-person visits made me rethink my assumptions and change the project’s direction, which allowed me to create more effective work.
Through the time I spent learning about topics like restaurant layouts, commercial real estate, and interior design, I developed a more efficient research process.
This project also challenged me to build a brand guide and carefully apply it to a variety of touchpoints. By establishing clear usage rules, I learned how to maintain consistency across a brand.