Established in 1946, Best Western is chain of medium-priced hotels and is the flagship property of Best Western Hotels & Resorts, which operates a total of seven hotel brands: Best Western®, Best Western Plus®, Best Western Premier®, Best Western Plus Executive Residency®, Vīb®,BW Premier Collection® and Glō. Together, they form a network of 4,100 hotels in more than 100 countries. I’ve only stayed at Best Westerns and they are decent hotels; nothing fancy but nothing where you feel you are going to be murdered in the hallway and they usually have free Wi-Fi and not $50-an-hour connections like at some fancier hotels. At the end of September, Best Western Hotels & Resorts introduced a new identity (and name) for its parent company and for its Best Western-branded hotels designed by San Diego, CA-based MiresBall.
The effort to create new logos has been two years in the making and has included input from travelers, travel buyers, partners and Best Western’s global hotel owners. As part of this rebranding, Best Western is focused on contemporizing the look of the company and placing more of an emphasis on all seven of the company’s hotel brands. Best Western used today’s graphic design and digital printing capabilities to create an array of logos that use special effects to be distinctive and striking to consumers, but are also functional in various settings.
The design of the Best Western hotel brand logo utilizes the hand drawn lettering, which is familiar and personable and pulls through the company’s updated blue color. The centerpiece globe comes to life through the use of special effects such as gradient, highlighting and a 3-D treatment. These effects will be distinctive within the hotel industry which traditionally uses two-dimensional logos.
I had always liked the Best Western logo, not so much because it was a good one but because it was so easily identifiable in its weird combination of elements that had nothing to do with each other. The colors were weird, the condensed serif had no relation to the crown, and the holding shape wasn’t the most dynamic. But repetition can trump bezier proficiency most times and the association between logo and hotel was established. In an era when most companies make sure to maintain some equity from their previous identity it’s very surprising that Best Western has changed completely.
Instead of the crown and serif type and holding shape, Best Western is now betting recognition on a puffy “BW” monogram. The monogram and wordmark are customized versions of Typofonderie’s Costa Std (which is then used as the brand font throughout the system and this introductory micro site). I don’t love it but I also don’t hate it. The typography has enough personality to be distinctive and it sort of hints to the pre-1993 logos and the script “Western”. I like how the “W” follows the shape of the circle but that’s as nice as I will be about that monogram because the “special effects such as gradient, highlighting and a 3-D treatment” in it are very off-putting and it makes it look like Charmin toilet paper. When you see the robe and cap below and how decent it looks in a single color it makes you wish they followed the industry trend that hotels “traditionally [use] two-dimensional logos”.
Not much in terms of application so far. The signage prototypes show that there might be potential in the glowing orb as a quick identifier although now it seems like it’s any random, generic hotel as opposed to a Best Western (which may or may not be a good thing, depending on people’s experiences). I will say that if I were driving down the highway or a city that I didn’t know I would stop at a Best Western simply on the logo alone as it at least looks contemporary and well-kept.
The Best Western Plus logo picks up on the brand’s traditional use of red, incorporates the signature lettering and draws more emphasis to the word “Plus” using a contemporary tapered line. The diamond shape, inspired by the shape of a mobile app, distinguishes it from the Best Western hotel brand logo by giving it a more premium look within the upper midscale segment.
Best Western Plus uses a weird pill-like shape and because of the color it almost looks like a cough drop and looks less “plus” than the regular Best Western. I don’t get the sense that I would be getting more. The few prototype applications don’t look too exciting.
The Best Western Hotels & Resorts masterbrand logo pulls through the company’s current blue color, updated with a modern hue and uses the distinctive hand drawn lettering which was created to be contemporary, friendly and memorable. This logo will clearly define that Best Western is a company of hotels and resorts across the globe with brands that meet the needs of today’s travelers.
The parent company logo could have been the nicer of the bunch but then they added the dome-like gradient in the background that makes appearances in different sizes and configurations in the applications. It’s unnecessary but once you go down the path of gradients and 3D aesthetics there is no going back. Overall, what the redesign has going in its favor is consistency not just across its various logos but also with the mid-range, satisfying-but-not-transcendental experience of its hotels.
Thanks to Roy Levitt for the tip.