After the success of Nicli Antica Pizzeria—the first pizzeria in Vancouver to make traditional VPN-certified Neapolitan pizza using a wood-fire oven—owner Bill McCaig wanted to expand, and in so doing, create a hub for the neighbourhood. Incorporating the history of Gastown and the comfort of Italian food, Nicli and Vicino would service the neighbourhood’s residents by providing outstanding food, ingredients, and a warm welcome for busy people to eat in and take out.
We needed to create a complementary companion brand for the established Nicli Antica, bring a consistent and manageable identity system together and build a responsive online presence for the two establishments.
Research, research, research. To communicate that perfect mix of Gastown heritage, Italian authenticity, and a love for outstanding food, we looked into both Italy’s history of signage and graphic design. Old neon signs and handwritten notes were collected, until we finally came to the decision that fit best: a logo that communicates heritage and authenticity, yet with a clean and modern twist. Vicino di Casa was the perfect name, too: it’s Italian for “next door neighbour”, but we shortened it to Vicino, or “neighbour”. After all, not only is Vicino the neighbour to Nicli, but it’s also like a good neighbour to the residents of Gastown—there to provide authentic food and a warm experience.
Secondly, although many of us foodies at the office frequent Gastown for its gastronomic seduction, we didn’t actually know much about the history behind 68 East Cordova Street and the surrounding area. So, we took trips to Vancouver Public Library and City Archives where we discovered treasure-troves of newspaper clippings, photographs, and miscellaneous notes that revealed the building’s history of being a key service provider in Gastown, from carriages in 1890 to canned food in 1960. All the knowledge we gained helped us write the Vicino story in the most genuine way possible.
Gastown is in the midst of somewhat of a renaissance, with new restaurants, bars and shops opening almost weekly it seems. For Nicli-Vicino, we had the opportunity to combine our out-of-office love for incredible food with our years of experience with brand strategy and execution.
The two restaurants each have a uniqueness to them, yet, also enjoy an underlying dna that is apparent in the quality, service, style and of course, the food. Capturing this essence in the visual and design work helps to deepen that connection, and the consumer experience. Ultimately, the goal is to give diners distinct experiences yet create the sense of a greater, bolder presence for Nicli and Vicino. The sleek and modern mixed with antique original brick of Nicli is paired with a warm, bright, and somewhat rustic touch in Vicino. Together, the two establishments are a relevant, authentic and spirited addition to the spirit of today’s Gastown.
Upon opening, Vicino earned nothing but praise, with a 95% approval rating on UrbanSpoon, and 4.5 stars on Yelp. Nicli owns authentic Neapolitan wood-oven pizza in Gastown, and remains as popular as ever. The Nicli Vicino brands still have some time to develop the exact mix of crossover (pizza in one, drinks in another kind of free-flow dining), but the direction is set and a solid foundation built for a lasting brand.
More Case Studies
Making the connection between corporate growth and community engagement.
Taking curiosity to the next level: Generating community engagement and excitement for major civic infrastructure.
An architectural practice with an eye to the future, exploring an unconventional online experience and break from the constraints of conventional practice.
Who doesn't want to "live pleasant"? Crafting an illuminating brand for a Vancouver-based developer.
A sharp, credible brand for the future face of financial analytics software.
A new era: Marking the transition from their first 60 years to their next; a new brand strategy and identity brings balance to one of Vancouver’s oldest architecture firms.
A step ahead: Making an impact while maintaining a disruptive and design-driven brand.
Creating flow for the Columbia Basin Trust: Respecting a legacy treaty, and mapping out a brand new identity for the future of an integral regional organization.
More than a superficial look in the mirror—a new era for this top AEC firm brings new meaning to the word ‘better’.
From one to many: An architectural icon grows from a brand of one man to a mature and experienced design team.
Putting a development on the map in a neighbourhood worth stopping in.
From six to one: A brand new national architectural practice comes together from a collection of unique firms. It’s a substantial task, with significant potential.
Disruptive, designed, distinct. Building a solid brand for revolutionary commercial lighting technology.
A makeover for a highly successful 50 year old company adds mettle to metal—copper alloys to be precise.
Considered environments. Spaces revealed. Rebranding a top architectural firm.
Paving the way for a local success story to go from one backyard BobCat to major civil construction contractor.
A liberating identity for Canada's newest entrant into mobile phone services.
Renovate or rebuild was the question we considered in positioning these Calgary-based architects.
Re-engineering success. Opening new paths to the future for a mechanical engineering firm.
Asking the right question reveals innovative thinking for this engineering website redesign.
West End Living—Redefined. A boutique building offering lifestyle, comfort, & convenience for a modern lifestyle.
Repositioning an interior design firm as a collaborative business with years of experience & high professional standards.
The construction of a world-class signature building leads this Vancouver icon to a fresh, re-imagined website experience.
Turning a corner on real estate marketing and creating a new District in our very own neighbourhood.
Driven to succeed: Reinventing a forest products legacy into a high-demand, technology-focused renewable fuels dynasty.
Giving rise to a uniquely progressive and green-focused community on Burnaby Mountain.
Bringing brand flow and a new identity for a company that’s all about measuring and controlling flow.
Reviving a historic brand for a top collegiate athletic department brings on a win.
Many architects express thoughts & stories purely through the buildings they create. Not so here.
A leading architecture school gets a website bound to boost admissions.
It started with giving this law firm an actual name, not just a long list of partners' names.
A brand evolution leads to a website as unique as the buildings this architecture firm designs.
Re-engineering an engineering firm's website to better better reflect their mission and services.
From plastic boxes to technology solutions; increasing the marketing bandwidth of a manufacturing company to deliver a competitive edge in telecommunications.
A cute little Inuit character, a reindeer and a robot transform the holidays for this leading electronics retailer.
Global brand building by design. Shining the best light on luminaires targeted to architects and interior designers.
After launching this coffee company's new identity we take our morning coffee much more seriously.
Walking the fine line from grape to bottle. A talented couple take on the best of BC wine.
Rebel. Ignite. Commit. A fitness company starts over with a new strategy, brand, website and iPhone app
We ask ourselves, "What would Jesus do?" for this online social network site identity.
From deep space to exploring the potential, dreams, aspiration, creativity and imagination of an entertainment company.
Bringing a regional library system into the 21st century. Looking beyond books and exploring semaphores.
The latest in printing technology piggy backs on rock posters by legend Bob Masse.
The more we know, the better we eat. Merging technology with the sustainable farming methods of our past is our future.
‘In the Kitchen’ goes independent. Taking the Industrial Brand food blog to the next level.
Overcoming ubiquitous postal imagery and brand confusion with a little green ball.