OPEN DOORS TO THE OPEN-MINDED
In 2020, Althoff Hotels appointed QUO to help them define their new brand: URBAN LOFT.
The brand had already been in development for several years, originally imagined as a budget brand before pivoting to a design-led lifestyle product.
While some existing brand work was in place, there was a need to deliver greater clarity in key areas, including target audience and competitive positioning, and to create a strong visual identity, a unique voice along with key roll-outs.
More Than a Hotel, It’s a State of Mind
QUO created a bold brand identity for URBAN LOFT. One that addresses the New Localist traveller and energises neighbourhoods by providing an open canvas for mutual inspiration, relaxation and collaboration in creative communities across Europe.
Pushing the Boundaries of What’s Expected
Urban Loft also needed a strongly-defined visual identity that would express its passion for design, which lies at the core of the brand’s DNA. With two properties under construction in Berlin and Cologne, QUO’s creative team developed an unconventional typography treatment at both the brand and property-levels, combining colour clashes, overlapping, unusual cropping and contrasts.
TONE OF VOICE
Meet ‘The Curator’
To that end, we created a voice persona that speaks with rhythmic and punctuated pacing and favours relatively long headlines followed by spare, sometimes fragmented body copy. Their penchant for one-liners, name dropping and parenthetical asides keep readers interested. We called this persona ‘The Curator’.
‘I Am Urban Loft’
The QUO video team was tasked with crafting a new video for the brand. Our goal was to showcase URBAN LOFT as more than just a hotel. Through a series of short vignettes telling urban stories, the video emphasises the individuality of the creatives and free thinkers who converge here. Each has a story to tell.
JAZ IN THE CITY
Creating a Hip Urban Hotel Brand
Jaz in the City is one of our most vibrant brands, and one that has stayed true to its original vision through every touchpoint as it has grown from the original hotel in Amsterdam with new properties across Europe and beyond.
It all started when parent group Deutsche Hospitality (then Steigenberger Hotel Group) approached us back in 2014 to create a distinctive, experience-led brand that would help them expand the existing Jaz portfolio (already established as a luxury resort brand in Egypt) into Europe in a way that made sense.
Tone of Voice
Getting into the Groove
After lots of collaboration with Deutsche Hospitality, QUO’s strategy team came up with the “In tune, but offbeat” Jaz in the City, an experiential brand that promised to sync global travellers with the rhythm of the locale. Borrowing heavily from jazz culture – because you should never look a gift horse in the mouth! – the resultant brand celebrates art and music, and uses improvisation to stay fresh and ‘tuned in’.
A Universal Beat
Jaz already had a name and a logo, which was pure letterform with Arabian-style serifs. We took it and modernised it by separating its cursive letters to improve legibility and accessibility. For the colour, black was out – only royal purple would do, to give Jaz a luxurious feel.
‘In the City’ was used as a descriptor, to differentiate properties from their Egyptian cousins. The logo works both without the descriptor and with the property location, as pictured. A secondary colour of orange – or oranje, if you prefer – was used to reflect Jaz Amsterdam’s Dutch pride.
TONE OF VOICE
Night at the Improv
How would you expect Jaz to speak? A jazzy tone suited the brand perfectly, but to keep it rooted in the now, its wordplay, rhythm and rhyme was injected with a cheeky sass – the confidence of a truly in-the-know local. To provide a sense of place, and to be truly improvisational, the voice incorporates local slang and sayings.
Keepin’ it Cool
There was no place for tired old stationery and boring ‘do not disturb’ signs at Jaz. Amenities invite guests to “Make your Jaz hands sparkle” (soap) and “Clean up your act” (shower gel). All around the hotel, the brand voice works together with the rich royal purple for a brand experience that hits every note. Even in longer form, Jaz copy’s got that swing.
Lights, Camera, Jaz!
The brand video for Jaz posed a problem we often have: what do you feature in a video if there’s no product? The answer is either stock footage or animation, so we went with the former to convey Jaz’s dedication to the locale. Using footage of Amsterdam cut together with ‘improv’ takes and a jazzy saxophone-led soundtrack, the result is fun, quirky and a little offbeat, with text on screen to help pull all the traits together.
See the brand in action by checking out Jaz on the web here.
Protecting our Children’s Futures
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is centred on the health and wellbeing of children around the world. Their campaigns, programmes and field work operate on a global scale, and QUO is proud to have had a strong and constant relationship with them over the last 20 years; bringing to life some of their most challenging and pioneering projects.
Infographics (information-graphics) are visual elements that express oftentimes complicated information in an effective and easily digestible manner. This creative area of communication has exploded in popularity among organisations and governments for its ability to convey information to people at a glance.
QUO has an extensive portfolio of infographic design and application, and was honoured to be invited by UNICEF East Asia and the Pacific Regional Office (EAPRO) to conduct a series of infographic training classes with their staff. The classes were aimed at teaching how to identify key information that could be turned into visual imagery and how to present this information in the most effective way, building the capacity for UNICEF staff to be able to develop and disseminate key information quickly in-house.
Jumping the Talk, Walking the Walk
As lifestyles have become more sedentary, and the consumption of unhealthy food has increased, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) threaten the health of millions of adults and children. To encourage people to kick-start a fitness regime, the Permanent Mission of Sweden and Jamaica, UNICEF, and other partners led a healthy workout session called #jumpthetalk at the Third United Nations High-level Meeting on NCDs at United Nations Headquarters.
UNICEF worked with QUO to promote the event. The posters, leaflets and banners show children in action, combined with the zigzag of an electrocardiogram readout to remind people that exercise is the best defence against heart disease. #jumpthetalk succeeded in having a multitude of suited officials joining the children and delegates exercising out on the lawn.
Despite the availability of simple and effective treatments, diarrhoea remains a leading killer of children, accounting for 9% of all deaths among children under age 5 worldwide in 2015. These deaths persist often due to a poor sanitation and hygienic practices. To combat this, the UNICEF Pacific office approached QUO to develop a campaign for the Solomon Islands to tackle this issue.
QUO conceptualised the key messages and developed a set of stories that resonate with children, with illustrations designed to be engaging and relevant to the Solomon Islands context. The books tell the story of two handwashing heroes, Soap and Water, following a cast of human characters through country-specific situations to promote the campaign’s chosen message, “Stay Healthy”.
Tackling Inequities in Children’s Health Outcomes
Since 1990, remarkable gains have been made in improving outcomes for children and women. The number of children dying before the age of five years old has almost halved, and similar progress has been made in reducing maternal mortality. However, inequities remain both among and within countries.
To tackle these persisting issues, UNICEF New York Headquarters worked with QUO to create two reports. One on UNICEF’s new health strategy through 2030, and the other on UNICEF’s Health Systems Strengthening Approach. QUO utilised a distinct colour scheme and selection of photos to clearly define each topic. A short synopsis was written and designed to accompany each report, distilling the main findings from the reports into six-page folding brochures.
Branding an Enchanting Destination
With a wealth of natural, cultural and historical attractions, Southern Laos is an ideal destination for tourists searching for an enchanting getaway. But until very recently Southern Laos was relatively undiscovered, often overshadowed by neighbouring Thailand and Vietnam, and other regional attractions.
Looking to bring this magical destination to the wider world, Swisscontact, an independent foundation for international development cooperation, brought together a coalition of public, private and civil society in 2015 to help create income and job opportunities for the local population through a more competitive tourism sector.
As part of this effort, QUO was appointed to create a fresh destination brand that would reflect the region’s diversity and the life-changing new experiences to be found there.
Tone of Voice