Opinions on corporate and brand identity work.

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This is a very old entry — images are small, formatting is off.


A Tree Grows in D

Reviewed Oct. 15, 2010 by Armin

Industry / Hospitality Tags /

DoubleTree Logo, Before and After

Over the years, I have stayed a few times at DoubleTree hotels. What I remember most about it is just how big their rooms are. Although I have no doubt that this memory is amplified in direct correlation to the consistent shrinking of most other rooms I have stayed at recently. Another memorable aspect of DoubleTree? They welcome you with a remarkably delicious warm cookie in your room — they give out 30,000 of them a day across the world in over 240 cities. And you know what else? They are owned by Hilton. But, until now, you would probably have no idea. First opened in 1969, DoubleTree was an independent hotel until 1997 when it became part of Promus Hotel Corporation, which then became part of Hilton Worldwide in 1999. With an identity redesign announced this week “in front of more than 1,900 hotel owners, operators and corporate executives at the company’s first-ever Global Partnership Conference in Orlando” Hilton is making sure people know DoubleTree is, well, by Hilton.

This first phase of a renewed DoubleTree by Hilton business strategy has been developed to further reinforce the brand’s relationship within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio of hotels.
Press Release

We will get to the logo, don’t worry, but this press release deserves a little more scrutiny as it has to be one of the most contradictory pieces of identity explanations I have read in a long time. It continues on to describe a few new “design features” of the logo:

• Introduction of a modern, sophisticated, stylized illustration of the brand’s signature two trees
•Integration of new, contemporary fonts and color palettes custom-designed for the brand

Just for good measure they reiterate how modern and updated it is:

“By celebrating a modern, updated look and feel for Doubletree by Hilton in logo, product and services, we hope this new brand strategy will enhance name recognition and consumer preference and energize these outstanding hotels’ natural and welcoming characteristics for many months and years to come,” said Paul Brown, president — global brands and commercial services for Hilton Worldwide.

Now, you are probably thinking, “This has to have been focus-grouped to a pulp.” And you would be right!

The brand is adopting the new brand identity, following extensive research and testing amongst thousands of travelers and DoubleTree by Hilton owners, employees and suppliers during the past several months to identify internal perceptions of the brand and assess how well DoubleTree by Hilton delivered against current and perceived brand expectations and experiences. The input provided basis and foundation for the development of several logo and name concepts. A final group of logo designs were then selected for consumer testing by select focus groups representing cultures around the world. Consumer feedback drove selection of the final logo to symbolize the refreshed strength and renewed style that represents the brand today.

When I see the new logo the farthest adjectives that come to mind are modern, sophisticated, new, or contemporary. Everything from the new tress, to the new typography, and especially to the new color is old-fashioned, drab, and quaint. I really can’t imagine the people who wrote the press release are looking at the same logo we are seeing right now. I will grant that the typography is a little better, simply because the new one replaces Trajan, but it’s far from today’s nicer serifs. The illustration of the trees makes it look like a small hotel on Main Street in Nowhere, USA and even though there is two tree trunks in there, there is just one visible tree. And, the color, my goodness, the color. It’s downright depressing.

The new identity will roll out in full in the first half of 2011, so there is a chance that the application might save it. My bet: it won’t.

Thanks to Nicholas Elliot Carrier-Damon for the tip.



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