Responses by Max Ottignon, cofounder, Ragged Edge
Background: The affordable hotel category isn’t giving travelers what they want. Airbnb has raised the bar by offering genuine, relevant experiences, but, bland, cookie-cutter budget hotels have so far failed to respond. Assembly is looking to change that with a brand that removes the pointless extras, in favor of what really matters to its audience.
Reasoning: We know that urban travelers don’t come to central London to hang out in a hotel room. So why pretend otherwise? Our strategy aimed to inspire guests to do what they came to do: to get out and explore the city. We created a new kind of hotel brand—a hotel that doesn’t want you to stay.
Challenges: To land a big, disruptive idea, you need to be relentlessly single-minded. So every element of the brand, from the key card to the website, needed to scream, “Get up and go.” It needed close collaboration with the Criterion Capital team, and for everyone to understand and buy into the central idea. Luckily, the clients were as determined as we were to create something that stood out from the crowd.
Favorite details: The bespoke typeface gets the headlines, but I’m proud of how every element of the identity—from copy through to application—is a clear expression of the central strategy. It means the identity feels coherent, powerful and relevant to the audience.
Anything new: Finding a way to balance the different types of letterforms in the typeface was a labor of love, and took plenty of experimentation. We needed to deliver it quickly and efficiently. That meant quick decisions, and lots of focus from the design team.
Time constraints: We were working with extremely tight timing. But, in this case, the constraints forced us to be ruthlessly focused. That meant that there couldn’t be any design for design’s sake. Everything had to have a clear communications role to earn its place. That comes through in the final result.