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How to design an iconic logo for your hotel

A logo can play a vital role in your brand identity. It has the power to instantly shape how guests perceive your hotel, subtly influencing their opinions through the clever use of color, text, and graphics.

While creating a logo might seem like an easy task, designing a great one takes careful planning and execution. In the following post, you’ll learn some of the essential elements required to create a logo, including the approach to defining your brand values, techniques for idea generation, and the merits of creating your own logo vs. hiring a designer.

1. Think about your brand values

Your logo has the power to encapsulate your brand personality. So before you do anything else, you need to define what that personality is. This process in itself can be extremely illuminating, requiring you to dig deep into what your hotel stands for and how you want to be perceived.

Potential questions to consider include:

  • What differentiates you from your competitors?
  • What 3-5 words best sum up your brand? (e.g. playful, adventurous, quirky)
  • What experience are you selling? (e.g. urban luxury, family-friendly, chilled beach hideaway)
  • Who are your target customers?
  • What do customers think about your brand right now, and what would you like them to think?

To illustrate how brand values can be translated into a logo, take a look at the Moxy Hotels logo.


Moxy Hotels Logo

The handwritten font feels creative, fun, and spontaneous — a perfect reflection of what the Moxy experience is all about.

To facilitate your brainstorming process, invite input from other members of staff in your organization. In addition to potentially gaining fresh perspectives, designing a logo is a great opportunity for your team to collaborate and bond on an important business decision.

2. Tell your brand story

Your logo can also be a reflection of your brand story. Specific colors, shapes, textures, and fonts can all help to tell a unique story about your hotel.

Perhaps your hotel occupies a historic building with a fascinating past. Or maybe your property has a noteworthy geographical setting. These kinds of selling points are part of your story, and can potentially be translated into visual form.

Take the Holland Hotel in Texas. Built back in 1928 by a local rancher, this property’s logo uses old style Western fonts and hand-drawn artwork to reflect its history and location.

Holland Hotel Logo

Friendly and wholesome, the Holland Hotel logo accurately reflects the property’s homey vibe and rugged mountain setting.

Think about the story behind your own hotel. What might that look like as a logo? Even if nothing obvious springs to mind, this can still be a valuable exercise in working out the overall message you want to convey.

For more inspiration, take a look at our recent logo design post to see an array of designs from both global brands and independent properties.

3. Create a mood board

Once you’ve come up with your brand values and story, it can be useful to translate them into a mood board. A mood board is essentially a composition of visuals, images, words, and even objects that help you visualize your concepts and ideas.

This could include magazine cuttings, photographs, sketches, newspaper headlines, or potentially logos from other brands that inspire you. There’s no right or wrong way to start, you’re simply looking to get the creative juices flowing and experiment with your initial thoughts.

Traditionally, a mood board involves pinning content to a physical board. But you can also make a digital mood board using platforms such as MURAL and Pinterest. As shown in the examples below, this might include using evocative travel photos, illustrations, or colors that embody the feeling or mood you’re trying to capture.

Mood Board Example
Source: Pinterest
Mood Board Example 2
Source: Pinterest

4. Differentiate from your competitors

Look at other hotels in your destination and identify ways you can set yourself apart. By checking out the logos of other hotels, you can ensure your own design is truly memorable and says something about the specific experience you offer.

For instance, if a lot of your competitors use bold and attention-grabbing colors, you could stand out with a more restrained design using monochromatic tones. If you notice a trend for typeface-heavy designs, perhaps make your logo highly visual with the emphasis on a distinctive image or motif.

While you need to stay true to your own identity, it’s essential that your logo is notably different from your competition.

5. Find inspiration beyond your industry

It’s easy to focus solely on your own identity and what your competitors are doing. But true creativity often requires expanding your horizons and seeking inspiration from outside your own industry.

To start this process, look for brands that target a similar audience to your own. Are there particular visual styles that reflect what you’re aiming for? You might find, for example, that you like the stripped-back simplicity of a contemporary design brand. Or the handcrafted style of a local bookshop.

While you obviously don’t want to copy what others have done, seeking outside inspiration can be the catalyst to envisage what your want your own logo to say.

In the case of Starbucks, its founders were thumbing through old maritime books when they saw the image of a siren from an ancient Nordic woodcutStarbucks Logo

They used this image to inspire their now-iconic logo, in part because it reflected the seafaring connection of its hometown port city of Seattle.

The Starbucks example is a lesson in how inspiration can strike in unexpected places. By intentionally seeking out alternate ideas, you might just find that spark of creativity you’ve been looking for.

6. Time to design

Once you’ve considered all the elements of your logo, it’s time to get it designed. Depending on your own skill set, needs, and budget, there are essentially three options.

Create your own logo

If you’re confident about your own design skills, you can create a custom logo using an online design platform. DIY sites such as Canva and Logo Maker offer user-friendly interfaces that let you select everything about your logo, including the colors, fonts, symbols, illustration, and overall layout.

Hire a designer

There are now a host of sites that make it easy to hire a designer for your logo project. After submitting a few details for the initial brief, you’ll get a custom design for a reasonable rate. For instance, packages on budget site Fivver typically range between $50-$100.

More premium options such as 99designs and DesignCrowd offer the option of running logo contests, giving you multiple options from a community of designers. Launching a contest on DesignCrowd starts from just $109, while contests on 99Designs start at $299.

Work with a design agency

Frankly, there’s no replacement for working with a professional design agency. They’ll take a detailed brief, research your industry and audience, and provide multiple options for you to pick from. Hubspot has a detailed post that reveals how professional designers go about their process. There isn’t an average logo design cost, but as a ballpark figure, expect an agency to charge from $5,000 and upwards.

The Looka blog also offers an extensive guide on how to choose the right design process for your business.

Designing an iconic logo for your hotel

Group design meeting

Your logo is arguably the most widespread and visual representation of your brand, so it needs to be designed with care and attention. By following the tips above, you’ll be well-placed to create a logo that’s inspired by your hotel’s personality, helping you to connect with your guests, express your brand values, and differentiate you from your competitors.

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