Reviewed

Holiday Inn Logo, Before and After

[Update 10.30.07: Additional images of the new identity added at the end]

Let me start by saying this: I love Holiday Inns. As a kid, traveling to the U.S. from Mexico, it was with happy regularity that we stayed at one, whether we were in Texas, Florida or New York. Like his car purchases, my dad was never much for additional and extroverted fanciness (and cost) when it came to booking a hotel. Perhaps it’s my association with those early years of travel and discovery but there is something undeniably comforting about Holiday Inns. They are, by far, not the best hotels but, for the most part, you can count on good service, a clean bed, cable TV, air conditioning and — despite an attempted break-in into a room housing my mom, grandmother and aunt many decades ago in a San Antonio Holiday Inn that, later, made the news — a sense of security and familiarity that welcomes you as you are introduced to a new place, far from home. I may have inherited a penchant for mid-range priced hotels from my dad, as spending more than $300 for a room in which you are only going to sleep in seems preposterous. I am not cheap, by any means, I like me some fancy things as much as any other designer but, when it comes to hotels, Holiday Inn is, for better or worse, the expectation (of price, service, and amenities) that I measure every hotel against. And in my increasing affection for identity design created anytime before 1999, it is painfully nostalgic to see Holiday Inn’s fabulously odd script logo — just how awesome are those reverse italics? — check out.

However, for an increasingly vast empire of Holiday Inns around the world — 3,125 hotels and 942 in the works — with a decidedly outdated mark (regardless of its prettiness and peculiarity), drastic change was the only possible turn of events. Designed by Interbrand, the new logo is more energetic, festive, modern, swooshy, happy, vibrant, friendly, grabable, and many more adjectives that are triggered by the over designed icon — it simply has too much styling to it, or, for a more appropriate allegory, too many chocolates on the pillow. In its dimensionality, the H is paper thin yet has an inner shadow, it’s somehow bulging outward as derived from the shadow yet the H is not reciprocally bulged, and the green field has a slight bevel that, if the H were peeling off from it, it should have as well. It’s somewhat encouraging that some of the traits from the original H — extended crossbar to the left and right, inward curve of the right stem, and an overall angling — were intended to carry over into the new mark. The accompanying word mark, while beautifully drawn and well crafted, feels like it belongs on an amusement park ride, more than a global hotel chain; and as a way to bring it altogether, the word mark also features, again, that indispensable dark green bevel. And, in case, we had forgotten about how the new breed of logos operate nowadays, a green gradient adds the final touch.

This identity redesign is well justified by Holiday Inn’s bottom-up rethinking of their services, so a big signal of change was necessary — although, travelers may take notice when they step into the lobby and smell the change, “We’re creating a Holiday Inn scent,” said Andy Cosslett, IHG’s (owner of Holiday Inn) CEO, “It’s going to be very subliminal. You’re not going to walk in and find it hits you between the eyes. It’ll be very subtle.” New bedding, showerheads, and a new “Service Culture” dubbed Stay Real, will all contribute to the reinvigorated Holiday Inn experience that by 2010, and a combined $1 billion expenditure from all hotels, will be completed.

Looking at the resulting identity from a broader perspective it feels successful in the reboot of a massive brand. The new signs will literally pop, in their vivid green-ness, in the landscape and command attention as you drive by them. I can’t think of no other major hotel brand whose identity is so outright energetic (even if I’m reminded of Radisson’s identity) on such a large scale. Despite my reservations and sarcasm towards the new icon and typography, I think this a very appropriate change and, given the chain’s ubiquity, it will be ingrained in the consumer’s mind fairly quickly. I will have to experience this new bedding, showerhead and scent for myself if I am to maintain my hospitality pledge with Holiday Inn.

[I leave you with a nice, big, juicy shot of the logo]

Holiday Inn Logo, Big!

[Additional images]

Holiday Inn Express Logo

The new Holiday Inn Express logo.
[Credit: Vismedia +44 (0)20 7613 2555]

New Lobby

New lobby.
[Credit: Vismedia +44 (0)20 7613 2555]

Launch

Andy Cosslett at the Dallas Conference where IHG announced the launch.
[Credit: Vismedia +44 (0)20 7613 2555]

Truck

Andy Cosslett at the Dallas Conference where IHG announced the launch.
[Credit: Vismedia +44 (0)20 7613 2555]

filed under Hospitality and tagged with

Reviewed October 27, 200710.27.07 by Armin


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