Westin Hotels & Resorts Energizes Brand with Global Design Refresh

Identity Draws Inspiration From Instagram and Wellness Brands

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Westin Hotels & Resorts is attempting to revitalize its brand across the globe with a new identity that brings an energetic, wellness-oriented approach to center stage.

Featuring a more lively color palette, vibrant photography and apothecary-style fonts, the redesign seeks to mirror in the brand's messaging what it has done with its product since 2011, when it launched its "For a Better You" tagline, according to Brian Povinelli, senior VP-global brand leader for Westin and Le Méridien.

About two-and-a-half years ago, the company introduced its six pillars of well-being: "feel well," "work well," "move well," "eat well," "sleep well" and "play well." They tap into everything Westin does from a programming perspective inside the hotel, such as healthy eating options or spa treatments. Last month, the brand formed a partnership with FitStar by Fitbit that will provide a series of fitness programs for guests as part of its "move well" pillar.

After looking over its identity, the Starwood Hotels & Resorts brand decided now was "the time for us to do an overhaul" to better reflect its positioning in the modern world, said Mr. Povinelli.

Prior to the redesign, Westin's color schemes and images were pastels, florals, white backgrounds – images focused on renewal. The new color palette is natural in tone, but brighter, and the photos are vibrant, crisp and more realistic, producing an editorial feel.

"What we want the brand to represent going forward is that wellness isn't about Zen or renewal," said Mr. Povinelli. "For us, it's really about energy and vibrancy, and that's what people want today."

Westin's Key Cards Before (Left) and After Redesign
Westin's Key Cards Before (Left) and After Redesign Credit: Westin Hotels and Resorts

With more than 200 hotels worldwide, and millions of pieces of collateral in 35 languages, Mr. Povinelli said the revisualization was "a beast of an effort" that the brand underwent in an unusual way from other marketers.

"We probably went opposite where most would go, which would be coming up with the visual identity and marketing and then letting the product catch up, but we wanted to get the product out first," he said. "We now have the credibility when we put imagery like this out there that the experience actually pays it off."

Westin invested about $1 million in its new brand identity, which it vetted through its hotel general managers and consumer focus groups.

He said the company, which handled all aspects of the redesign in-house, including video production, was inspired by Instagram and studied other wellness brands for style ideas.

Westin's new look has an editorial feel, with apothecary-themed stylings
Westin's new look has an editorial feel, with apothecary-themed stylings Credit: Westin Hotels & Resorts

The skincare brand Aesop was one of the brands that inspired Westin's decision to adopt the "apothecary trend" for fonts and layouts on images, said Mr. Povinelli. The apothecary design incorporates a serif font for headlines up top to draw readers in and a sans serif one below for factual information to give a sense of "authenticity or the honesty of your drugstore," he said. Westin also created six new icons to represent its well-being pillars because icons play a significant role in the apothecary trend.

Mr. Povinelli said the new look and feel will stretch across all hotel assets, from brochures and posters to stationery and key cards. The design will also mix into Westin's social media efforts, and could find its way into some hotel sales and marketing materials.

The brand expects its new visual language to live for at least five years and speak to a variety of consumers. "We wanted to create something we felt appealed to millennials, baby boomers and everybody in between," Mr. Povinelli said.

Westin is in the midst of an request for proposals for a creative partner in the U.S., and Mr. Povinelli said that while some of the 200-plus photos taken for the redesign could be used by the new shop, the agency will likely create its own assets with the new brand identity in mind.

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