A chap named David Hopper added a comment on this site last week mentioning he had a poster that recycled one of the designs used on the cover of an Anglo-American Nile Company brochure. He kindly sent me an image with permission to post here:
It’s a fabulous thing and, as far as I know, very rare – I’ve never seen a poster for the Anglo-American company. He tells me it’s 39 1/2 x 25 inches and going by the date on the brochure with which it shares a design, it probably dates from around 1929/1930.
Also interesting is that it was designed and printed by the well known Richter & Co of Naples, a company responsible for designing and printing many of the fine luggage labels and advertising material put out by Egypt’s top hotels, including Shepheard’s, the Winter Palace and Cataract. The Anglo-American company spent years overshadowed by the more commercially successful Thomas Cook Nile services and subsequently largely vanished from history while the Thomas Cook name lives on. Thanks to Richter it can at least boast the better graphics.
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?