Since 1963, Portillo’s has been a Chicagoland tradition. Founded by Dick Portillo as “The Dog House,” the name later changed as the upstart restauranteur started to get his footing. Today, Portillo’s is a regional chain restaurant that offers its dogs, Italian beef, Polish brats, cheese fries and other Midwest delicacies in several states.
When it came time to rebrand its offices, Portillo’s turned to another venerable Chicago business, Cushing Co. The printing and branding shop dates all the way back to the Great Depression, when in 1929 F. John Cushing Sr., a delivery driver, bought out his employer, the National Blueprint Co., and began making sales calls himself to go after print jobs.
Fast-forward 90 years and it’s still family-owned; Cathleen Cushing Duff is the company president and has been since 1985. The company produces all types of printing and graphics for companies all over, and for this local client, Portillo’s, Cushing was charged with creating an office environment for the company that would match the branding and the spirit of the restaurants themselves.
“I had worked with Cushing in a smaller capacity at previous companies,” says Rebecca MacDonald, brand manager at Portillo’s. “As this project came together, their name came up and I researched the firm again and discovered how many capabilities they had related to environmental branding.”
Working closely with the client, Cushing delivered a colorful combination of attractive signage and graphics meant to inspire Portillo’s team members and instill pride in their brand and where they worked.