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Three creatives are leaving their mark all over town (and beyond).
It must be a sign. A trio of creatives is branding Raleigh—literally—and beyond via signage for many of-the-moment and iconic spaces. And while these creatives tend to fly under the radar as the news of these hot spots drops, it’s their signs that are emblematic of these rising Raleigh places—and what first draws to mind.
The creative force behind some of the Triangle’s most recognizable and hip branding concepts—from Boxyard RTP’s Lawrence Barbecue Oakwood Pizza Box to Ponysaurus Brewing Co.’s Little Pizza Box in the Bull City to Scott Crawford’s new Clayton Crawford Cookshop—is comprised of designer and art director Paul Tuorto, sign painter and designer Joseph Giampino (you may know him as @spclsigns), and fabricator Brian Chiarizia of Rebuild Fabrication Co.
While the buzz for budding spaces typically centers on the chefs, bartenders and architects—“rightly so,” says Tuorto—it’s this design trifecta who’s working behind the scenes to bring the visual concept to fruition. “That’s really important, and I don’t think a lot of people notice that,” adds Giampino.
Tuorto credits Raleigh designer Josh Gajownik (famed for branding Ashley Christensen’s Death & Taxes and Sunny Gerhart’s St. Roch, among others) for building the city’s aesthetic—and paving the way for future designers (Exhibit A: this unstoppable trio).
And you don’t have to be a graphic designer or art aficionado to realize how crazy-cool this team’s designs are. Typically, when attacking a project together, Tuorto will draw up the branding and logo; Chiarizia will fabricate whatever the design is being placed on (a sign, etc.); and Giampino will handpaint it—though there’s typically some back-and-forth between them, as well as the client.
Though each does solo projects as well, Chiarizia says they work very well together, and “we have this trust in each other—we know each of us is going to deliver 100% of the time,” he says. He adds that they work with each other as much as they can, recommending each other to clients for projects they’re involved in. “It’s definitely not something that any of us take lightly. We’re all humbled by and proud of what we do,” adds Chiarizia.
As such, Chiarizia can name 20-plus places he’s worked on with Tuorto and Giampino, but one of Tuorto’s favorite undertakings as a trio was the branding for Alimentari at Left Bank in Transfer Co. Food Hall. Tuorto says the project melded together their cultural familiarity—they’re all Italian! Tuorto drew up the look of the signage and menu board and designed their content; Chiarizia built everything; Giampino painted it all.
“So it was just this fantastic little team putting together something we all knew we’d love,” adds Tuorto, “and all of us were incredibly biased because we were waiting for a shop like that for a long time.”
The true beauty of their work, says Giampino, is that it isn’t trendy—it’s timeless. Adds Chiarizia: “In the end, I think we are all just doing something that we are incredibly passionate about, and take pride in, and we just happened to be in the same place at the same time. Lucky, I guess.”
And as the Triangle continues to grow at warp speed, “there’s a free license to do anything here,” maintains Tuorto. And Chiarizia says he doesn’t see the partnership ending anytime soon. Especially when the branding is coming from a talented design team such as this one, you know the end product is going to be inspired—and inspiring.
“It feels good to leave a mark in the city,” says Giampino. “It’s nice to work with two other people who also take a lot of pride and care about the product that they’re making.” And for that, we think they deserve all the attention in the world.
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