In an earlier post (Labelled with love) I wrote about luggage labels, the small printed pieces of paper that were stuck on guests’ bags and cases to make sure they arrived at the correct hotel. The designs created for the labels often then served as a logo for the hotel, appearing on letterheads, envelopes, and even cups and plates in the dining room. But branding creates problems of its own. At one point Shepheard’s was losing 2,000 coathangers a year to guests. When management stopped printing the hangers with the hotel’s name the losses dropped to almost nothing. Ashtrays were another favourite ‘souvenir’ item. This, however, was viewed as a good thing: the idea that Shepheard’s branded ashtrays were being carried off back to Europe and America, where presumably they would be proudly displayed, was good advertising – an early form of viral marketing. To encourage this the hotel even issued different designs to appeal to collectors.
All the designs were close variations on the Shepheard’s distinctive luggage label (the one that heads this post), which was designed by Mario Borgoni of the printing house Richter & Co of Naples, and in use from the early years of the 20th century and throughout the 1920s and 1930s.
As at Shepheard’s, most of the big hotels had their own signature design – many of the best of which were also drawn by Richter artists. In most cases the designs were maintained over the years with only the occasional variation in colour.
For comparison, here’s a bunch of current hotel branding.
And they say that the romance of travel has gone?