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Harlan: Beyond Digital

(October 2009) posted on Wed Oct 14, 2009

More on the company that created the signage for Chi-nnati's, inside and out.

click an image below to view slideshow

By MaryKate Moran

Harlan goes beyond digital print work, and that expertise was called upon for the Chi-nnati’s project (click here  for more on the project). From faux concrete to creative bathroom signage, Harlan had the place covered inside and out. In the end, it made the elements all the more cohesive.

Hit the pavement: These signs—one over the entrance and one high enough to be visible from an adjacent street—are meant to illustrate the blending of the two cities, and to reference the industrial grit associated with both. “The intent was to look like city blocks,” Wendt says. Harlan custom form-welded 1/8-inch aluminum lightboxes and covered them with latex for the faux concrete finish. One-inch clear acrylic was routed for 1/2-inch protruding backlit 3D logo lettering. Low-voltage LEDs were used for illumination. “It’s new and slick meets old and gritty,” says Wizinsky, adding that the signs were designed for some light to leak, creating an unfinished look.

C it?: This supersized “C,” hand-painted with exterior latex paint, has a diameter of 15 feet (there’s another one 13 feet in diameter beneath the main sign at the entrance). The concept for it came from those old, faded signs that used to be painted directly on brick buildings throughout the country.

Cut heads: Harlan picked up the same wood stain used by the interior designers throughout the restaurant so the wood on the bathroom signs coordinated with other architectural elements. These 3/4-inch hardwood maple signs were routed on a MultiCam-M Series router. The head is a standard stainless-steel pizza cutter wheel.

Metal message: FRCH created this font specifically for the project, which is used on metal signage both inside and outside the restaurant. Here, the focus was again on having an industrial look: “We wanted something that looked like it had been stamped into the side of an I-beam,” says Wizinsky. These letters were forged from 1/2-inch Type-1 PVC with Chemetal-333 laminate on their face.

Harlan’s Evolution
Harlan Graphic Arts Services  has been serving the graphic-design community since 1980, but it’s come a long way from its early days. Originally a purveyor of typesetting and films, it now provides signage and environmental graphics for clients across the nation. Films and typesetting have given way to large-format prints, routed signs, and LEDs.