Growing a pandemic pizza pop-up into a successful brick and mortar pizzeria.

A living room scene showing the giraffe chair in a sunny corner.


Today, Dantini is a full-service pizza operation. But it started as a pizza pop-up turning out 40 pies a night from my brother-in-law's home oven. I created a compelling brand identity and polished digital presence that helped Dantini grow beyond its humble origins.

Dantini Pizza
12 months
The Team
Brennen Birch (Design) Garrett Fitzgerald (Owner) + a rotating cast of pizzaiolos
My Focus
Service Design UX Design Graphic Design Brand Identity Photography Rad Merch

My Role

Creative Director

I worked with the owner, Garrett Fitzgerald, to direct Dantini’s brand strategy and develop its identity from scratch. I designed a logo and color palette, a website, pizza boxes, business cards, weekly menus, and more.

For one year, I was the brand's photographer and also ran front-of-house operations.

In addition to creating Dantini's visual identity, I designed a new ordering system that was simple for customers to understand and helped build hype around our pizza.


"Slide into my DMs" isn't a great way to order pizza.

Dantini started without so much as a name. The business began in March 2020 as a weekly fundraiser for Seattle's Hospitality Fund, selling pizzas from Garrett's Instagram account.

As the business grew, customers had trouble figuring out how to order a pie. Once they were following the Instagram account, they had to be lucky enough to be online when Garrett posted the week's menu to DM their order.

To grow, Dantini needed a memorable identity and an easier way for customers to order a pie.

an iPhone mockup with an Instagram menu for Dantini
One of the first Instagram menus Dantini posted in March 2020.

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How might we leverage design thinking to make an unlikely pizza joint the hottest ticket in town?


Understanding the Users

Defining the Problem

Design Solutions

An identity for Dantini.

Dantini was the name of Garrett's grandfather's restaurant in Elkhart, Indiana. I created a new logo, color palette, and identity to make the Dantini brand Garrett's own. The visual identity references Italian and Midwestern motifs with a color palette inspired by Garrett's new home in the Pacific Northwest.

a moodboard with images that inspired Dantini's visual identity
Key metaphors for the Dantini brand, pulled from a proposal I created under my Quite Nice moniker.
Dantini's color palette and inspiration images
The Dantini color story, pulled from a proposal I created under my Quite Nice moniker.
Dantini's color palette shown with pizzas
The Dantini color palette was designed to play well with Garrett's pizza. This image is pulled from a proposal I created under my Quite Nice moniker.
4 Dantini logo options in different colors
The Dantini logo can be presented in multiple colorways. This image is pulled from a proposal I created under my Quite Nice moniker.

A countdown clock and a makeshift call center.

With our small oven, we could make two pizzas every fifteen minutes. Sounds simple, right? To our surprise, we couldn't find any product on the market that would allow customers to place orders online without overbooking our oven or pizzas disappearing from carts.

I designed a low-tech solution involving a countdown clock and a Google Form. Every Thursday at 7pm, the countdown clock on our website would strike zero and customers could request their pie via a Google Form. From a kitchen table, my sister and I would manually assign pickup slots and call back customers to confirm their orders, giving a personal touch to the experience.

a screenshot of Dantini's countdown clock
A countdown clock on our website revealed an order form when the clock struck zero.

During Washington's stay-at-home order, hunting down takeout like Dantini was all part of the fun. Our countdown clock added to our hype and made ordering our pie easy to understand.

"To procure pie from Dantini, a weekly popup at Harry’s Fine Foods, I set an alarm on my phone for 7pm on a Thursday, when the ordering window opened. But I got distracted; by 7:35, just one pickup slot remained."
-Allecia Vermillion for Seattle Met

Weekly menu drops.

It's not that we didn't have a website—we did! But most of the pandemic pizza action happened on Instagram. I designed an Instagram-specific menu to meet users where they were.

As Dantini's menu grew to offer build-your-own pies, I designed a new scrolling menu that we updated on a weekly basis.

An iPhone mockup with a scrolling Dantini menu.
A promotional menu formatted specifically for Instagram.
An iPhone mockup with a scrolling Dantini menu
A newer scrolling menu. Once we got a bigger oven, customers could order online or by phone anytime.

A pizza box that people love to unbox.

A custom pizza box is just...*chef's kiss*. I designed a custom screenprinted box to help elevate the Dantini brand.

The box was a success—the design has spawned its own genre of Dantini "unboxing" videos and photos that customers love to share on social media.

A video of someone opening a box of Dantini pizza on Instagram
Customers regularly share Dantini "unboxing" videos like this one.
A Dantini pizza box on a table
The Dantini pizza box in the brand's signature yellow color. The design uses only one ink color to make printing economical.

Rad merch.

After we'd been around for a year, we had a loyal fan base. And fans demand merch! I hand dyed and screenprinted T-shirts featuring Dantini's OG menu and pizza box design.

The menu T-shirts turned out to be handy for working shifts at Dantini. When new customers dropped in and asked "what's on the menu?", all I had to do was turn around.

A man wearing a Dantini tie dye T-shirt
A man wearing a Dantini tie dye T-shirt
A man wearing a Dantini tie dye T-shirt
A man wearing a Dantini tie dye T-shirt
A man wearing a Dantini tie dye T-shirt


From zero to $20k.

We grew monthly revenue from zero to $20k in eight months through laser focus on visual design and user delight (and the best pizza in town, of course). Our strategy worked; a polished digital presence and visual identity made Dantini seem like so much more than two folks slinging pies in a shuttered bistro two nights a week.

Making headlines.

Dantini became a darling of Seattle's burgeoning pandemic pop-up scene. Beyond Garrett's fantastic pizza, our incessant focus on beautiful photography and storytelling got us noticed. Dantini was featured in the Seattle Times, Eater, Infatuation, Seattle Met, and others.

A collage of news clippings featring Dantini
A selection of articles and best-of lists featuring Dantini.




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