Design: Activation, Branding, Environmental

The Project

A young and ambitious team of chefs and restauranteurs had a big vision for the future of downtown Cincinnati dining. The Boca Restaurant Group wanted to create a world class Italian trattoria in a basement in the middle of the city’s downtown which had become an uninspired food dessert for the most part. Making matters worse, the concept of authentic Italian cooking had been done a million times over producing a high level of mediocrity known as Malfatti or “poorly made” food for consumers. And on the other side of things, chefs & restaurants who wanted to do quality were continually fighting the stigma of Nonna’s (Grandmother’s) cooking.

The Design

The apparent humble nature of eating a family meal in an old brick walled hideaway in the heart of the city gave us all the “warm and fuzzies”. We proceeded to create a design to reflect some of very basic principles much like the food itself: It had to be simple, heartfelt, tenacious, and above all it had to be Italian. The result is an identity that consists of a humble brand mark and the design of an execution entirely handmade with all typefaces and stylistic interpretations being purely Italian. SOTTO has become well known for being a world class dining experience and arguably the best restaurant in the city of Cincinnati. It has garnered much press and awards and is definitely one place you leave feeling physically and mentally fulfilled by way of ingesting the food, the environment, and the atmosphere. Buon appetito!