Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Holiday Inn's new logo and signage: Inn-excusable

The late, great Holiday Inn sign

Looking out the back of the station wagon with a Holiday Inn sign on the horizon... life is sweet!

The interim sign from the 1980s-2000's: corporate but still a little kitschy.


The new signage (ZZZZzzzzzzz, snore)


Nice motel, really boring signage.


They still had the old logo on their deluxe coffee cups inside, though.




A reworked old gem.


An homage to the master.


We had a very pleasant stay at a Holiday Inn hotel near Chicago's O'Hare airport recently. Nice room, great service, friendly staff, terrific internet deal on the rate, quiet, clean. No complaints at all. Well... almost. It seems the InterContinental Hotels Group which owns the chain has begun what they call a world-wide relaunch of the brand that includes a redesign of their logo and signage. There are some things that should just never be redesigned. The Mona Lisa. The Taj Mahal. The Holiday Inn sign. When the chain began in the 1950s, road travellers were beckoned by a giant green and yellow gleaming 42-foot tall monolith with a friendly hand-written-looking script typeface and a chaser-bulbed arrow topped with a shining neon star to lead you to to the comfort and luxury of the best motel chain on the open highway. When you saw that sign you just had to ooh and ahh. It was a true American icon blinking you in the face. In the 1980s, they did away with the big signs for a more contemporary backlit box, but they kept that distinctive script, to remind you of those comfortable kitschy American roots. But now it seems even the script is gone, replaced by a bland sans-serif typeface suitable for any generic purpose. Bring it back, oh please bring it back. Doing away with that old logo is Inn-considerate, Inn-correct, Inn-comprehensible, Inn-defensible, and, well, you get the idea.

14 comments:

djrb said...

Well, you've done it again - I'm sitting here, just me and my computer, and I'm cracking up as if I'm sitting here with Don Rickles! All those Inn jokes... Ahh, what a good laugh I had. Oh, and by the way Eeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwwww - what an UGLY "improvement" to the logo.

Rick said...

Well said. A well designed revamp could have paid homage to their iconic brand. But instead they threw the baby out with the bathwater. Doesn't make me want to stay there. And it is less distinctive and less recognizable. Reminds me of the new Coke.

Gunnar and Sherry said...

Denise: Thanks! I spent way too much time looking up "in" words in the dictionary when I should have been doing something else more important like studying Dreamweaver!

Rick: New Coke indeed!

Gunnar and Sherry said...

Rick: or should I say New Coke Inn-deed!

Linda said...

What's funny is that they don't even use the fancy "H" in the word "Holiday."

The first time I saw the "H" I thought it was for Hilton. So much for branding.

Gunnar and Sherry said...

Linda, I agree. Seems nuts to throw out an iconic image and replace it with something so bland.

Kevin Kidney said...

Inn-deed.

The new logo is just inn-sulting.
I've linked to your post on Dinosaurs & Robots today. Thank you for the well-written commentary. I couldn't have said it better.

http://www.dinosaursandrobots.com/2009/08/then-now-11-inn-sult.html

Gunnar and Sherry said...

Thanks, Kevin. I'm Inn good company and I'm honored and flattered by your presence!

Kieran said...

*sigh* Even the language on the old advert is beautifully crafted.

Compare it to the modern website's dry rattling off of facts.

Gunnar and Sherry said...

I agree Kieren. "Well-informed wayfarers" and "Your host from coast to coast". That's darn good ad copy.

Pat Gomes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wings said...

Yeah, don't like the new one, myself.

I loved the old logo and such. Even had the play "Holiday Inn" set when I was a wee lad.

Sad to lose it, now it's just another in the masses. Ah well...

David said...

Hi guys! It's very understandable that American traveling people might feel nostalgic of the old logo. However, from a graphic design perspective (my field of work), the Holiday Inn brand can only win with the change; actually, long ago I (as well as other people related to the field) had realized that the old Holiday Inn logo was too... well, old. Those Italian-Futurism shapes of the old-old logo were already too "historic" for a place that wasn't supposed to attract customers because of it's historic value, but because of its efficiency, price, cleanliness, etc. And hand-written-style typos for the previous logo were, matter of fact, strange in a technical world were most, if not all, of the reservations are made via internet.

I worked for one of these hotels just during the transition period, and the change was felt as a very good one for the customers. Indeed the big "H" might have not been recognizable right away, but every brand goes through that at some point. As a traveler, I value the companies that are able to adapt and reinvent themselves when necessary.

Very nice blog. Thanks for all the information!

T.D. Miller said...

You and I are in perfect agreement. The really odd thing is that the new revamp has done everything else very well. I was in one in Pensacola earlier this year. They have nice retro touches like a picture of the "great sign" in the room. The eating place was called "Kems" after the founder Kemmons Wilson. YET! The branding is awful. I have talked to a number of employees since the change that agree with me. Unless, the ownership of HI is repatriated to America, I doubt they will ever go back.