Headquartered in France with 90 locations worldwide, Accor is a hotel operator, hotel franchisor and hotel asset manager and is considered the number one hotel operator worldwide simply in terms of units owned, leased or operated under management contract. It manages over 500,000 rooms across 4,200 hotels. Accor recently rebranded its line of economy hotels: Formerly ibis hotel, Etap Hotel, and All Seasons Hotels into ibis, ibis styles and ibis budget. The implementation of the new brand, designed by Boulogne-Billancourt, France-based W&Cie, and segmentation is expected to be completed worldwide by early 2013, with a strong communication campaign during 2012. The goal? to capitalize on the ibis “mega brand” through modernity, simplicity and well-being, while highlighting the unique qualities of each entity within the economy brands.
Parent company Accor has committed €150 million (US$204 million) to aid brand implementation as quickly as possible of the design developed by W&Cie — obviously that’s not just for the logo: Yann Calliére, president and COO of Accor, said the allocated funds will be used to accelerate renovations when needed and develop brand markers in the hotels, including a new bedding package. “We want to improve the level of comfort at the hotels,” he said. “That includes not only signage but an advertising campaign that will be launched, possibly around the summer or fall of 2012, when we have a significant number of hotel changes already.”
So, on now to the actual design, the one with the not-so-comfy, perhaps made of plastic pillows that are the essence of the brand, an element picked up from the all seasons hotels. With upgraded puffiness and gradients, as well as lots of shadows, the typography has also been updated and thankfully some of the awkward elements of the previous type have been lost, where a somewhat inflated style with a few sharp elements compromised legibility. Especially at small sizes.
This time around, legibility is better but I can’t say that I find the typography all that interesting or innovating. While adequate I wish it was more exciting, something I was expecting when watching the brand video where different people interact with one essential element of a successful hotel stay: the pillow.
W&Cie seems to have embraced a more unique typographic approach in the actual applications of the brand, and I gravitate more towards these elements which give the brand a lot more personality and character. The main challenge of this redesign is for the pillows at all ibis hotels to be memorable enough to make them worth being their logo.