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LodgeNet Punts its Football

Reviewed Feb. 12, 2008 by Christian Palino

Industry / Technology Tags /

LodgeNet Logo, Before and After

Jerry Kuyper (of recent Cisco redesign fame), alongwith brand strategy firm Group 1066, has created a new graphic identity for LodgeNet Interactive Corp. — best for you to read what they do as it’s impossible to condense in a simple sentence. As this is an example of an effective corporate redesign by one of the field’s most talented designers, I asked Jerry if he would share some of his first-hand insights into the project and its respective process — and he kindly accepted.

CHRISTIAN PALINO: Thanks for this opportunity Jerry. Could you start off by telling me about how this project began?

JERRY KUYPER: Group 1066, a strategic branding firm based in New York, recommended Jerry Kuyper Partners to LodgeNet. We competed against several other firms and won the project which consisted of creating a new graphic identity, visualizing the brand architecture and establishing the identity standards.

In 2007, LodgeNet Entertainment Corporation bought OnCommand, formerly its biggest competitor and the number-two supplier of video-on-demand services to the hospitality industry. LodgeNet also had acquired StayOnline, a provider of hotel Internet services. The brand needed to reflect this new reality.

CP: Was there a formal brief to begin the project?

JK: The creative brief was provided by LodgeNet, based on the strategic work from Group 1066, and included the following:

LodgeNet Interactive Corporation

LodgeNet envisions and delivers engaging interactive experiences that keep customers of guest-basd businesses connected, informed and entertained.

Image attributes
Innovative, exciting, friendly, fun, savvy

connect | inform | entertain

CP: Could you tell me a bit about how your design process began?

JK: I was pleased to see there was no interest in maintaining any visual equities in the existing symbol. The “football”, as the symbol had not so affectionately been nicknamed, was an early expression of the shiny chrome approach that many designers despise today.

From the creative exploration I selected the five directions that were most promising in meeting the image criteria. I discussed the work with Group 1066 and they identified one direction they felt was most effective. They also cautioned me that direction might be too much of a stretch for our client. Each direction was demonstrated on a series of prototypes and in the context of the competitive set.

The following week I presented the five directions to the Chief Marketing Officer and his marketing and communications team. The direction that Group 1066 and I preferred was quickly selected. This direction was based on the digital pipeline that is the vehicle by which their products and services are delivered. The design had many inspirations, from fiber optics to fireworks. My thought at the time was “that was easy”. Over the next several weeks I refined the logo.

CP: Sounds like one of those exceptional cases where everyone wants the same creative solution! On the client side, who worked with you on the project?

JK: The team that I worked closely with at LodgeNet included the Chief Marketing Officer, Senior Director of Marketing Communications, Creative Director and Senior Designer. I found the LodgeNet team to be smart, receptive and fully engaged in the project.

CP: How did you structure your creative exploration and refinement?

JK: My approach is not typical in that I entertain all suggestions from the client. I have found this process to be very engaging and productive. While many of the requests may not have appeared sound, they all led to further exploration and discoveries that influenced the final direction. My openness to listen to concerns and suggestions also increases my credibility when I tell my clients a direction doesn’t work. At one point I was asked to add a swoosh. I winced, I did it and I proceeded to talk them out of that direction.�

CP: I’m glad to hear the swoosh was quickly dispatched!

JK: I joked with my client that it isn’t what we create as much as what I talk you out of that has real value.

CP: And the cycle of revisions?

LodgeNet Detail

JK: The revisions included which name to use as part of the visual identity: LodgeNet or LodgeNet Interactive. I strongly recommended that LodgeNet should be the communicative name and used with the symbol. LodgeNet Interactive Corporation would be used as the legal name. Shorter is always better in a name.

We also explored the color, font, and the structure of the logo (including the number of elements, direction of the movement, different overall shapes). Over 300 variations of the logo were created and evaluated over the course of that month. The additional exploration led to a result the client team and I agreed was a distinct improvement over the initial recommendation. My thought at the time was “that wasn’t easy”.�

CP: You noted that there was also a brand architecture component that was developed — could you tell me about how that evolved?

JK: Group 1066 had recommended a masterbrand strategy to leverage the LodgeNet brand and facilitate the addition of their acquisitions. I worked closely with LodgeNet to create and evaluate a number of brand architecture models. We recommended the four major businesses, Hospitality, Healthcare, Education and Travel, have signatures that used the LodgeNet name and symbol. Several minor exceptions were made but the overall brand architecture of the company become much more unified and easier to understand.

LodgeNet Lockup

CP: As the final logo and respective lock-up exists in various on-line and off-line contexts and sizes, were there any media-specific versions developed?

JK: Joe Finocchiaro created the final artwork for the graphic identity. I believe there should be as few variations of a graphic identity as possible. The logo is intended for use at all sizes and across all media with one exception. A special use version was developed to used as a stamp into leather folders.

CP: Thanks for sharing so much behind the scenes information. The resulting identity is a great accomplishment — especially given the “football” that kicked it all off!

JK: I found working relationship with Group 1066 to be very productive and enjoyable. In addition to their strategy work they provided me with several key insights during my creative work. I’m proud of the result of the collaboration between LodgeNet, Group 1066 and Jerry Kuyper Partners.



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