Archive | September, 2010

Thunder Road Steakhouse & Cantina


When planning a restaurant, décor choices play a very important role. From the initial statement made through signage, to the interior lighting and layout you are communicating to your customers what they can expect from their experience. A recent example of using décor to communicate to customers is at Route 66 Casino near Albuquerque, New Mexico. Recently, they opened the Thunder Road Steakhouse & Cantina. The casino wanted a lively atmosphere that included themes based on the legend of “Thunder Road”, a classic 1958 film starring Robert Mitchum, and combined the old Route 66 imagery and the Hispanic roots of New Mexico to create a truly unique and immersive, entertainment experience. Our team designed, manufactured and installed the entire new venue from start to finish in just a few short months.

As you approach the venue, your attention is drawn to the impressive signage element that spans the entry area. Multi dimensional flames and southwestern style letters read “Thunder Road” and welcome you to the unique dining and entertainment area. Walking into the space, two rustic flanking columns topped with custom fixtures blaze out an energetic and welcoming first impression and set the tone for what you can expect. As you move through the remarkable venue, you will begin to notice all of the surprises that lay in wait for you. For instance, a 1950 classic Ford moonshiner’s car explodes through one of the walls, which leaves you to wonder “Was the driver sampling his delivery?” I won’t spoil the fun of finding other unique conversation starters for you.

The overall feel of the venue is a rustic, time forgotten Southwest warehouse. Decor elements that all contributed to the effect included; faux windows with raised mullions, warehouse doors constructed from reclaimed barn wood, as well as old world iron brackets and metal finishes throughout the space. Larger than life wall custom murals depict the ballad of Thunder Road while various paintings of southwestern style musicians and instruments create a colorful montage that flows through the space. The focal point of the entire venue is the 180 degree bar. Perched atop, is a classic 1950’s police car which can be raised high into the air to reveal a hidden stage where live music provides entertainment. All of the themed areas throughout the steakhouse were designed to communicate the fun “Thunder Road” and Route 66 themes while initiating a lively and interactive atmosphere that is unique, and unlike any other dining experience in the area. The décor and theming elements of the venue not only tell the overarching tale of “Thunder Road”, but invite guests to be a part of that story and add their experience to the legend as well.

– Bonnie W.

More Thunder Road Pictures can be viewed by clicking the link.

Continue Reading · Comments { 7 }

Specialty Lighting Fixtures

Light sources are some of the most overlooked and underfunded areas of any retail design. However they are some of the best places to implement your brand or theme colors of your company. For example, in a supermarket, you have a pleasant, earthy colored sign that says “produce” and under it are three lights. The sign with the lights seems pleasant enough but the light fixtures are white and strike a discordant note with the browns and greens of the produce sign. Simply changing the fixture color to a matching brown would add the needed continuity to the design. The style of your fixtures also tells a story. Rustic fixtures help convey the feeling of history and dependability while more modern fixtures can convey the feeling of efficiency and freshness. These are a few examples of how paying attention to the detail of your lighting sources will take your design theme from pleasing to beautiful.

– Donnie W.

Continue Reading · Comments { 2 }

Choosing the right typestyle


If you take a close look at any companies with a well designed and branded image, one of the most important factor are the typestyles that are incorporated into the design. There thousands of typestyles that exist, but they can all be placed under six categories: oldstyle, modern, slab serif, sans serif, script, and decorative. Since oldstyle is a group of fonts that are best suited for body text, I will discuss only the remaining five. Modern is an excellent typestyle for businesses that want a clear yet sophisticated look; such as a performing arts center. Slab and sans serif are very simple yet eye grabbing typestyles. They are superb fonts for casinos, restaurant chains, and highway billboards because they do not have any distractions inside the font. They say what you want in a very clean and clear way. Script fonts tend to portray a boutique feel and are often used by many specialty type businesses or brands. No other typestyle matches the balance of personality and sophistication that a script style possesses; although if used poorly they can easily cheapen your brand. Decorative typestyles would be said to cover everything else. Wild, unpredictable, and sometimes unreadable, these typestyles are designed to hold the viewer’s interest on the typestyle itself and not the actual word. This effect can, however, be useful if used correctly and can help add interest to your design. In the end, using the correct font can make or break your design so be sure to spend the time necessary to ensure your fonts convey the message and feel you want.

Continue Reading · Comments { 4 }