Responses by Blok Design.
Background: Dating back to 1879, The Royal Hotel in Picton, Ontario, has been lovingly restored by a local family. We were responsible for creating an identity system that honored the hotel’s strong roots in the community while reimagining it for today’s contemporary travelers.
Design thinking: We approached the identity holistically and worked alongside architects GPAIA from day one to ensure every detail was considered. Influenced by the layers of materiality and varied spaces, we created a visual language that weaves together history and a unique sense of place. The crown itself is a contemporary interpretation, inspired by the language of cross-stitching and its connection to Prince Edward County’s heritage. Along with designing the visual identity for The Royal Hotel, our involvement included the website, photography, menu systems, packaging, signage and architectural elements.
Challenges: The most challenging aspect of the project was also its biggest opportunity. This project began in 2016 and took six years to complete. Interiors were shifted, tonalities had to be modified, and there was a need to ensure consistency across multiple applications that kept on expanding. This meant that the process was always in constant flux, and the identity kept on evolving with the project.
Favorite details: Our scope covered many projects that enabled us to experiment and push the identity further into the architecture itself. We worked with talented metal workers to create custom doors for the exterior areas. Inspired by historical photographs, we created abstract perforations of the county’s landscape that were then mapped into the metal itself. Every part of the process felt new, inspiring and uncertain until we saw the final piece.
Visual influences: We were lucky to have a plethora of visual influences available in Prince Edward County. We had amassed in-depth research on the region’s history from archival photography, text, iconography and typography. Additionally, the natural landscapes unique to the county served as an endless source of inspiration.
Specific project demands: The many challenges that COVID-19 brought—from a construction perspective and the project’s photographic needs to launch made our photoshoot experiences some of the most memorable. We collaborated with photographers Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott of GraydonHerriott. This meant we needed to adapt to photographing spaces as they were being built. It was both surreal, nerve-wracking and profoundly magical to see the construction team, the models, the photographers and our clients all flowing in perfect synchronicity from one room to the other finalizing spaces moments before they needed to be shot.