Brand identity for Swire Hotels

We designed the identity of Swire Hotels’ ‘Lifestyle Business’ category to answer the need for a fresh and breezy look that appealed to young and adventurous travellers. The first hotel to open in 2010 was located in Hong Kong, as part of the Island East business hub, and the second opened in INDIGO, Beijing and the third one is due to open in Miami. The identity, which was based on extensive customer research, expanded into opportunities for large branding features in the hotel and lobby.

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The challenge

The identity and look of East hotels had to reflect the needs of a new breed of traveler, who combines work with play. The old way of looking at business hotels as machines for work gave way to an updated expectation of globetrotting professionals to stay in hotels that fulfill them during their off-hours as well. The personality of the hotel had to be unassuming, playful and unaffected, while delivering all the services of a standout business hotel – in a casual, contemporary design environment.

Our Approach

As an interpretation of the hotel’s personality, we designed a clean and simple identity with a touch of orange and a key visual of sky, representing brightness and freshness. The modern, straightforward approach worked well to relay the business credentials of the hotels and reassure guests that they are in competent and professional hands at East hotels. We then added playful touches and surprising twists in the design of in-room and public area collaterals.

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A directional cross, with a highlight pointing to the East, is the centre of the brand identity. This highlight shows up in the logomark of the name and in a series of patterns that are applied to stationery and other collateral items.

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The graphics used throughout the hotel are playful in nature, yet always useful – from a notepad with integrated sudoku puzzles to a touchscreen interface that helps guests find everything they need in the hotel.

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In addition to the identity design, and in order to reinforce the sense of place, we expanded the brand character through feature designs in the public areas. Examples are the lighted tree mural in the lobby representing the connections of the Hong Kong urban jungle and a re-interpreted stack of bamboo baskets in the lift

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The logo and brand marks were designed to work equally well across multiple scales and materials, from small printed applications all the way to supersize graphics on the façade.

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Uniforms worn by front-of-house and support staff match the brand identity. Each subtle element of the characteristic orange colour, whether its on a waiter’s top or the orange cap worn by the kitchen staff, reminds guests of the service and care given by the hotel to every detail.