If you had asked me at the beginning of 2022 what trends I would have an eye out for at the end of 2022, the answer would have been something along the lines of, “I’m looking for fresh and unique packaging concepts, well-designed executions, the latest innovation in skincare brands, new capabilities in print and finish techniques, all things Gen Z and overall brands that do a stellar job of connecting with their consumers.”
So what changed from the beginning of my last year to the start of this year? It’s simple—in 2022 I started the year with a career in the CPG (consumer packaged goods) beauty space, and I’m entering into a new year with a career in the hospitality industry at Brightwild.
If you ask me now what trends I have my eye out for as we enter the new year, my answer is both different and the same. I’m looking for fresh and unique hospitality concepts, intentional implementations of design, physical space activation that inspires, nuances of the many different audiences that partake in travel and brands that emotionally connect with their audience.
The core brand and design principles mentioned above remain consistent across the board, but the category and execution are very different.
So when the opportunity arose for the Brightwild design team to head to New York City in November for BDNY—a boutique design conference—to dive deep into world-class examples of hospitality and source best-in-class inspiration, I was thrilled for the chance to fully immerse myself into this diverse and eclectic category of design.
Below are just a few of the many well-designed moments that captured my attention during our stay:
New York City is a jungle of typography.
With millions of people visiting the city each year (the city was expected to reach over 50 million visitors in 2022, according to timeout.com), typography serves a wealth of purpose from window signage and logo lockups to wayfinding systems and menu copy. Depending on the execution, one may select something very clean and legible, or something bold and stylized.
However, beyond functionality, my favorite typography speaks on an emotional level.
For example, after dinner in Brooklyn, we ventured into a small bar named Eavesdrop. The name itself is a reflection of the warm and cozy interior, with tastefully dimmed lighting and noise dampening acoustic paneling details in the interior. When we sat down to order a drink, I finally noticed the small logo that read (Eavesdrop.) It was small, in italics, and contained by parentheses. Everything about the way the typography presented itself FELT like a whisper.
In contrast, when stepping into the Equinox Hotel, we happened by their restaurant the Electric Lemon. The letterforms are modern, sleek, and strikingly dynamic—almost as if they were given a jolt of electricity. Another smart design choice that beautifully reflects the intended concept.
In the midst of touring the city, I knew I wanted to keep an eye out for classic branded elements (type, color, copy,) wherever they may appear.
The restaurant at the Wythe Hotel, Le Crocodile, features a hand drawn crocodile and chicken. On the menu, the croc is chasing the bird (a small printed touch at the bottom, just enough to spark joy for those of us waiting at the bar.) As we moved throughout the space we noticed the chicken greeting guests at the restroom, dressed in French attire (per the menu’s theme,) and I quickly checked social media to see the illustrations blown out and telling a more complex story. The style itself is simple and understated, but it goes a long way in enhancing the brand’s subtly cheeky personality.
While Le Crocodile takes what I would describe as a more traditional branded approach to illustration, with print and digital executions, two of my favorite examples weave the branding into physical interior spaces themselves.
The 1 Hotel Brooklyn featured a custom wallpaper with illustration (adding this to my personal wish-list for one of our properties,) while the Nomad Hotel featured a custom tile floor that pieced together to create a custom floral pattern. Both of these approaches activated the spaces in a major way, and at Brightwild with our brand and interior design and development teams being so closely connected, we have an opportunity to think in massive ways about how we seamlessly blend elements of brand and interior to create a unique guest experience.
Branded touches–both visual and verbal–inside a hotel make an impact on the overall guest experience.
From the moment a guest enters their room, they should be able to immediately recognize the hotel's brand and feel a sense of familiarity with who the brand is and even what they stand for.
During our stay in New York, I was delighted by some of the details in the branded moments that I experienced: a welcoming note upon entering the room, a wooden and intentionally placed logo sealing a fresh roll of toilet paper, custom slippers and bathrobes and partnerships with like-minded brands such as with skincare and haircare products. Even the smallest of details, like napkins or notepads, helped reinforce the hotel's brand and create a cohesive, memorable experience for guests.
The back of the napkin in our hotel room read, "Some of the best ideas are found scribbled on the back of a napkin. Go ahead, see what you come up with." This took up less than 3 inches of space and is one of the more memorable moments that stuck with me in the days after our stay.
From the distinct shops and restaurants on every corner, the bustling streets, to the iconic skyline, New York City is a never-ending source of creativity and inspiration.
While we couldn’t have possibly visited every hotel, bar and restaurant New York had to offer, each establishment we had the opportunity to experience had its own distinct personality.
I’m grateful our team had the opportunity to swim in a pool of design inspiration, and I look forward to how we can challenge our approach to branded properties at Brightwild to push the envelope and create unforgettable experiences for our guests as we enter into 2023.
To explore some of Brightwild’s properties, or, to book with us today, visit our website at www.brightwild.com.