Taking things to the edge for a popular local pizzeria
Walter’s303 is a Colorado favorite Pizzeria and Publik House with four locations across the front range. From its founding over a decade ago, Walter’s303 has grown into a small pizza and craft beer empire, serving each location with their classic offerings while still catering to the unique personality of those neighborhoods. They are also known in Colorado – already a beer enthusiast state – for having one of the most highly curated taplists in town. We started working with Walter’s303 just as they were set to open their 4th and largest location to date. To help support their growth into this new space and into the future, we collaborated to redefine and strengthen their brand identity and then expanded this new version of Walter’s into menus, merch, and a highly custom and modern new website.
Brand Identity | Web Design | Copywriting | Menu Design | Collateral Design | Photography
Never Dull, Always Funky
Our first meeting with the Walter’s team set the tone for our whole project – this was one fun and funky group of dedicated pizza enthusiasts, full of ideas for how to bring a refreshed version of Walter’s to life. As a company, they had a good sense of the identity of the brand, but they also recognized that the way it was being expressed in their current branding and website was not as intentional or professional as they would like, especially as they moved into a new phase of growth.
As we dug into our brand identity exercises we were excited to hear some of the answers from the Walter’s team. When asked, “If your brand was a car, what would it be?” they answered, “VW Bus.” And, “If your brand was an animal, what would it be?” they answered, “A liger, mixed with a golden retriever.” Needless to say, Walter’s was ready to incorporate some big personality into their brand expression.
Walter’s identified their target audience as former downtown cool kids who had moved out of the city to start a family (but still have their tattoos, band posters, and like to throw back a few of their favorite beers). At the same time, they wanted to make sure everyone – from a buttoned up professional on a lunch break to grandma and grandpa looking for a fun place to take the grandkids – would feel welcome. In search of an authentic brand identity for Walter’s303, we explored wide ranging options.
From the brand colors to the messaging to the style of photography, we tried on a little of everything to see what fit. Our stylescape strategy helped us to explore a wide range of brand identity options, quickly identifying what was working and iterating on our favorite elements. Ultimately, we realized that the strongest expression of the brand lived in a slightly contradictory space. Walter’s is both edgy and family friendly, vibrant but chill, irreverent and welcoming. These contradictions created an exciting energy and tension within the brand, with a unifying theme of the excellent food and friendly service Walter’s is known for.
Connecting the Real World with the Digital
With a strong new brand identity established, we moved into creating everything from physical menus to a highly custom new website. Though the experience of visiting any individual location has some similarities, Walter’s303 is not a chain restaurant, and they are committed to creating an authentic and unique neighborhood experience for each of their locations. None of their menus were exactly the same, and specifically their constantly rotating taplists are highly curated to each location. This created some challenges in extending their brand into the elements their customers would interact with.
Because the Walter’s303 experience includes both an online and an in-person component, we wanted to make sure that visiting the website and any of their locations had a certain continuity.
The Walter’s team also wanted to make sure that the specific vibes of each of their locations were represented on their new website. Beyond showcasing some of the specific menu items and tap lists, Walter’s wanted to capture a little bit of what it feels like to visit each specific restaurant. We had the Walter’s team provide us with a history of each location and some information about their regulars, and then distilled that information into a brand voice infused description of that Walter’s. Paired with photos (often featuring some of the long-term servers and bartenders that guests could expect to see) we were able to capture some authentic neighborhood flair.
We designed their new website with the goal of giving visitors an overall sense of the vibe of visiting any Walter’s303 location, while still highlighting what made each location special. We wanted the site to have a clean UX/UI, making it easy for potential guests to find exactly what they needed without sacrificing the personality of the brand. Here we had a lot of leeway to play around with subtle details, custom icons, and personality-filled copy to help support the user experience and keep the brand voice vibrant. As a way to further connect the brand in both it’s digital and physical manifestations, we used that paper-textured background element to bring a warm, slightly distressed and worn-in feel to the brand while still allowing for a clean aesthetic. We then designed the menus to be printed with a similar texture, creating a cohesive brand experience while reinforcing Walter’s professional but non-pretentious vibe.
Welcome to the Sharp Side
While Walter’s303 has always had a charming, home-grown authenticity, their new brand identity and cohesive website positioned them more accurately as the successful and quickly growing business that they are (but without losing that funky edge that their loyal customers had always loved.) This new expression of their brand feels more in line with the lived experience of visiting one of their restaurants: fun, funky, craft (but not pretentious), and welcoming for all. Walter’s303’s newly refined brand identity and website should support their growth goals, setting them up to establish a true pizza empire.