Amongst designers, it seems there’s an unspoken list of the absolute coolest possible design projects you could ever wish for. The list includes things like brewery, toymaker, candy manufacturer, amusement park, and most definitely pizzeria. I’m excited to say that Oxide recently had the opportunity to cross that last one off the list. We were approached by Willy Theisen (of Godfather’s Pizza fame) to assist in building an identity for the new upscale pizzeria he’s opening in Dundee. Pitch Pizzeria will open later this fall at 51st & Underwood.

Final Pitch Pizzeria logo as it appears on

Final Pitch Pizzeria logo as it appears on

Early concept sketches for the Pitch logo.

Early concept sketches for the Pitch logo

We collaborated with Willy and his team, as well as the creative folks over at Alley Poyner, on a name for the establishment. The restaurant concept centers around coal-fired ovens that can reach 1100 degrees Fahrenheit. There were a lot of solid naming options on the table, and eventually “Pitch” was selected. It’s a shortening of the concept of “pitch black”, an allusion to the clean-burning – but jet blackanthracite coal used to bake the pizzas. (We can’t take credit for the name, just for contributing to the overall brainstorming process.)

Two additional refined concepts for the Pitch logo.

Two additional refined concepts for the Pitch logo; these were presented to the client as options

The additional images shown here are a peek into the design process at Oxide. We always approach every logo design with a great deal of background research, and then hundreds of pencil sketches. The whole team collaborates on every project, and we build off each other’s ideas. Often, we show the client two or three highly-refined concepts and then draw upon their first-hand knowledge of the business to select the most appropriate path.

In this case, we determined what we thought would be the three most effective directions. One went a little more casual, with a tongue-in-cheek usage of a pitchfork to draw a connection to the pizzeria’s name. A second focused on the aspects of the coal’s compelling texture and the heat of the oven’s fire. The selected option takes a sophisticated approach to the play between light and dark inherent in the “pitch black” concept.

Two concepts that never made it past the thumbnail: Adam's "pizza tractor" and Drew's take on a familiar icon

Two concepts that never made it: Adam’s “pizza tractor” and Drew’s take on a familiar icon

As a postscript, I thought we’d show a little more of our concepting process. The sketches above were never intended to be serious ideas. But when we’re brainstorming, there truly are no “bad ideas” at Oxide. Everything’s worth getting out of your brain and onto paper. Maybe it’ll spark a totally different direction for someone else, or maybe it’ll just let you get it out of the way and move on to better ideas.

View the project page for Pitch Coal-Fire Pizzeria.