The Next Big Design Thing


Each year brings new design trends, see what 2019 has in store.

The one constant is change, are we right? Well in that vein of thinking, it’s once again time to take a gander at the upcoming year and spotlight the design trends that will be dominating messaging from companies large and small. (And if you feel the urge to indulge in a little nostalgia, you can peruse what we highlighted on our hot list for 2018.)

The bold & the beautiful

Lively colors were in demand in 2018 and that’s only going to increase over the next 12 months. Pantone, those harbingers of all thing hue-related, have listed super vibrant, saturated shades among their Pantone Fashion Color Trend Report. This also comes into play with the continued use of bold fonts (which also have the handy-dandy side effect of being easy to read on our multitude of devices).

A new balance

Asymmetry is defined as the “lack of equality or equivalence between parts or aspects of something.” Naturally most of us think of asymmetry in design as a lack of balance. However, in design it can actually mean so much more, creating its own unique, unexpected sense of equilibrium.

Back to nature

Stock photos can be the bane of a designer’s daily existence. Which is why you can expect to see a crop of images in 2019 that come across as way more natural. Think something you took with your iPhone, not something requiring a 15-hour photo shoot.

Just do you

Personalization—it’s the buzzword that won’t die. The latest incarnation of the personalized craze comes in the form of custom, hand-drawn illustrations. Guaranteed to be original, when used in your designs, they offer the added bonus of being a surefire way to garner loads of positive attention and interest.

The future is now

The Jetsonian dream of traveling via flying cars may still be eluding us, but in the world of design futuristic is king. Patterns, textures–you name it–will be infusing design in 2019. Another side to this is the use of augmented reality. The wine company, 19 Crimes, has had a lot of fun with this concept via their living wine labels.

Mi Casa es su Casa


For hotels, the right branding can be the difference between success and failure. Find a way to create the perfect home away from home for your guests.

If you are in the hotel business, you obviously spend some serious time thinking about the quality of your service to your customers. How you can improve things so they will not only come back again, but also recommend your brand or location to others. But do you ever take a moment to consider if your branding is as innovative and thoughtful as it can be? Read on for some ideas on how branding can ensure that your properties are attracting guests that will become loyal and lifelong customers.

Forget being all things for all people

Sure, hotels may wish, in the darkest depths of their hearts, that they could appeal to every potential customer. But we all know that simply isn’t possible. So, the first thing a property or group of properties needs to banish is this idea of appealing to everyone. The key to success is crafting a message that effectively promotes your brand to your target audience to obtain the maximum appeal and exposure. While branding often is focused on the story of your location, it also includes how your people share that story through their interactions. Enforcing your brand, and creating loyal customers, comes from staff interactions. Part of your branding efforts must include a plan and protocols for employees to follow to ensure guest satisfaction.

 Rise above the crowd

Next, you should be focusing on what your hotel’s story is. What makes your property unique? How can you share that story in a way that maximizes your brand’s appeal? Whatever strength or differentiator you have should be the point that you center your branding message around. But don’t think you can make stuff up. Customers can sniff out fakery fast these days; you need to be honest and transparent if you want to stay in the hearts and minds of your clients.

Make the price right

There are a multitude of budgets out there and many reasons why someone seeks a hotel. Some are price conscious, while others are focused on amenities of location. Once you have determined what your target demographic is, your pricing strategy should fall in line pretty easily behind that. Once you stop trying to compete with other brands and locations on price, you may find that your appeal to your core customer increases. 

Listen to your customers

We mentioned the importance of creating a branded experience via the service that your staff offers customers. The final component to consider when you are working on your hotel’s branding strategies is the feedback you receive from your guests. The most authentic experiences happen when you listen to the intel from your existing audience. What do they desire in a hotel? What makes them feel comfortable? Why do they decide to come back to a location? How have they been dissatisfied in the past? Even if your property has been up and running for some time, it’s always a good idea to regularly check in and take the pulse of your guests. Over time, your customer base may have evolved, and you may need to revisit your branding strategies and update them accordingly.

A Design Strategy Does A Business Good


Big or small, all businesses can reap rewards from good design.

Those who live and breathe design already understand the power that it can have for a company. From enticing customers to creating products, design plays a bigger role in business than it gets credit for. More and more major corporations are starting to realize this fact, creating chief design officer positions as a result. Here’s some thoughts on how design can improve your business.

Making better products

Most businesses understand the role that design plays in creating products that are not only easier to use, but that consumers also find more appealing. But problems occur when those design influences aren’t allowed room to innovate. It may seem counterintuitive, but new products can be scary for businesses, even though they know they need them to grow. New means change and that can clash with the way things have been done in the past.

Improving the customer experience

When it comes to creating a better experience for a customer, you don’t have to be a designer to have an impact. Any person connected to a product can provide insight leading to improvements via design thinking.

 But what is design thinking? Simply put, it’s a process where we try to move beyond the expected, challenging the usual ideas, resulting in new ways of addressing old problems. It’s the modern-day take on brainstorming.

 There are five stages to design thinking:

  • Empathize—put yourself in your customer’s shoes

  • Define—specify what your customer’s problem is and what they need

  • Ideate—create innovative ideas by challenging the old ways

  • Prototype—build new solutions

  • Test—experiment with the new solutions to determine what works best

Since design thinking is all about being out-of-the-box, you don’t even have to go through the stages in order. Play with them and see what works for your given problem or project. What matters the most is not losing sight of the actual customer in the process.

 In the end, the time and resources you put toward the use of design can actually improve your entire business. Adobe did a study on creativity in business and found companies who fostered creativity had a 1.5 times greater market share than their competitors. So, opening your people up to design thinking can do more than you realize.



Ideas to Inspire Your Next Hotel Branding Campaign

Hotel Branding.jpg

From podcasts to social media, how your brand can garner attention from customers.

When kindergarteners have a “brand” (We’re looking at you Blue Ivy.) then of course hotels must be super savvy about their branding campaign to ensure they attract guests. The answer appears to be a multi-pronged approach that incorporates layers of branding, from podcasts to social media contests to VR tours. But beyond the approaches, what matters is the tone and intent that each effort creates. Let us explain.

Keep it natural

When it comes to promoting your brand, hotel or otherwise, there’s a fine line between good promotion and over the top promotion. Creating high-quality content, that features a natural narrative versus blatant brand promotion, is essential. It also establishes your brand as an authority with the confidence to not be constantly bragging (or even humble bragging). For instance, Levi’s Circles commercial focuses on different cultures coming together and expressing themselves through dance. Sure, they are wearing Levi’s products, but the focus is on the joy and movement the people are expressing. That is the feeling that you are trying to capture. For a hotel, this can translate to stories that share the emotions we have when we travel, interjecting—in understated ways—how your properties can enhance these feelings.

Invite further action

Successful hotel branding campaigns don’t start and stop with one particular ad or piece of content. To achieve a real interaction, your marketing efforts must prompt the user to do something else. And often these efforts build on each other and the overarching vision and core values you have created surrounding your hotel. Again, subtleness matters. Stella Artois’s Joie de Bière leaves viewers not only craving a sip of their beer, but also rediscovering the necessity of a good pocket. An effective post or podcast will inspire guests to visit your main website, click on different locations or even make a reservation.

Be bold

Sometimes the most successful branding campaigns are the ones that take a bit of a risk. One way to do that in the hospitality industry is to embrace virtual reality (VR) technology. This may still seem like a faddish way to garner attention, but according to a survey conducted by Greenlight VR, people are very interested in exploring travel and tourism destinations via VR. Their survey found that the category of travel, tourism and adventure was the number one category of interest, with more than 70 percent of respondents citing it. This ad for Toms shoes, entitled A Walk in Their Shoes, is a powerful example of VR’s emotional potential in advertising.

 Give customers a voice

Social media has truly shifted the landscape in terms of how brands and their customers interact. Allowing guests to promote your property in their own words can be far more powerful than any efforts you create on your own. Not only are social media campaigns that solicit pictures and feedback from actual guests extremely powerful and authentic, they also are a great way to make guests feel recognized and valued. For instance, Starbucks Red Cup Contest has become a highly anticipated seasonal event, inviting people to showcase their Starbucks holiday cup throughout their daily lives.