GBH: yotel branding and signage
GBH: yotel branding and signage
jun 26, 2012

GBH: yotel branding and signage

yotel brand identity by GBH featured on the new manhattan capsule hotel GBH: yotel branding and signage

GBH recently designed the branding and signage for the new ‘yotel‘ in manhattan. the interiors were developed in collaboration with softroom.

— following text from GBH

GBH have been working with the yotel capsule hotel brand for the last 12 months, helping redefine its proposition, identity and environmental graphics ready for its expansion outside of europe.

yotel was originally the brain child of simon woodruff, founder of yo-sushi and was positioned as part of the ‘yo’ brand. as such, it’s original identity reflected the futuristic, japanese influence of the sushi restaurants, but featured a cube icon to represent the compactness of the hotel rooms. initially the hotels were located only at airports and offered a mix of innovation and utility wrapped in a futuristic style.

with plans to expand the brand into a 650 room building in new york, situated between the 4th and 22nd floors, offering much larger and more luxurious rooms, a stylish roof terrace, bar, restaurant, lounge and gym, there was a requirement to rethink the way the concept communicated, which of its elements to to build upon and which to leave behind.


GBH: yotel branding and signage yotel exterior

from the start we saw the opportunity to build on the original values and personality. it was time for the capsule story to evolve to accommodate the upgrade in the offer without losing the core concept of innovative use of space with a futuristic, japanese aesthetic. the first step was to rationalise the existing identity and create a full set of guides for use by marketing teams as well as hotel staff. the cube was removed from the logo to move focus away from ‘capsules’ but importantly the phrase ‘smartspace’ was introduced into the yotel vocabulary as a way of communicating the innovative functions and features that each room comes with, such as space saving fold-away beds and clever storage areas.

working closely with london based interior design agency softroom,

of particular excitement was the exterior entrance at ground level,

which now takes on the look of an illuminated building from the future

and sets up the customer expectation. once inside the lobby though,

it’s the yobot, a fully working robot which takes, handles and stores luggage,

that steals the show. with such a large space to be filled, there was

a wonderful opportunity for drama and the yobot makes no mistake

in communicating the modernity, innovation and style of the brand.

inside the hotel itself we identified the areas and touch points of the

environment that we felt could best communicate the brand personality

and allow us to treat mandatory information in a fresh way. design work

included signage (over 1200 in all), in-room items, staff uniforms and

communal area graphics. many services which are normally staffed

in a hotel are self-service at yotel; automated check-in/out, a galley

kitchen and ‘take-out’ restaurant and provided perfect opportunities

to marry a futuristic form with operational functionality. the cube icon

from the original logo was re-instated within 3D signage (a subtle reminder

of the room aesthetic) while graphics were kept to a minimum and echo

the clean, futuristic lines and modern materials of the interiors. meanwhile

this influence even extended to language, with the naming of the 24 hour

concierge desk as ‘mission control’ and the rooms as ‘cabins’.

GBH: yotel branding and signage lobby


GBH: yotel branding and signage check-in


GBH: yotel branding and signage mission control (concierge desk)


GBH: yotel branding and signage yobot – a fully working robot which takes, handles and stores luggage

GBH: yotel branding and signage


GBH: yotel branding and signage elevators

GBH: yotel branding and signage


GBH: yotel branding and signage details of the wayfinding signage…


GBH: yotel branding and signage


GBH: yotel branding and signage


GBH: yotel branding and signage


GBH: yotel branding and signage


GBH: yotel branding and signage


GBH: yotel branding and signage


GBH: yotel branding and signage


GBH: yotel branding and signage


GBH: yotel branding and signage


GBH: yotel branding and signage


GBH: yotel branding and signage


GBH: yotel branding and signage room interiors


  • Please, how is this a capsule hotel?

    I was scrolling down the entire tripe looking for their capsules, very disappointed.

    Goku says:
  • I’ve been to this hotel I see its signage from outside as I drive by often. I can hardly imagine a more vulgar unrefined sense of design at least from a signage perspective. I find the design heavy-handed and the interior design objectionable for a hotel which should be warm and inviting even if modern. It seems like comes from a Britney spears video where in the future there are no corners and and everything glows purple.
    Lastly, I can’t imagine a worse name for a hotel than Yotel!
    I guess I am not hip enough to swallow this concept driven endeavor.
    I forgot to mention this is probably the worst located hotel in NYC.
    What are other peoples impressions?

    DBH says:
  • I like it…it would be even better if they didn’t speak English when you walked in.

    where else can you find a ‘Yobot’? c’mon…doormen are so last century

    mash says:
  • Yo estuve en este hotel \”Yotel de Manhattan\”, y LO RECOMIENDO.
    El hotel es muy nuevo, está en perfectas condiciones.
    Las cabinas son acotadas pero está muy bien optimizado del espacio en relación a sus dimensiones y su mobiliario. Las camas son muy cómodas, ideales para descansar después de un día agitado en Nueva York.
    El staf siempre fue muy amable.
    El restaurante tiene precios muy razonables, con sabores muy sofisticados. Por la mañana, mientras tomas el desayuno, escuchas el sonido de una selva con sonidos de animales e insectos.
    Y para mí está muy bien ubicado. Llegas caminando de la terminal de bus y estás a 3 cuadras de la 7 Av. y Brodway.
    El diseño es muy cuidado, es innovador y conceptual, no debería ser criticado negativamente en un blog de diseño, no crees?

    AngelaMM says:
  • @DBH – I see Angela has answered your petty comment.
    I suppose you want every hotel to look like the Four Seasons
    with Rockwell prints in the lobby?

    Maybe some things of Yotel this can be improved,
    but it looks awesome for the most part!

    Serg says:
  • why allwas some one have to say something negative, do a good critic people!

    bag says:
  • Love the signage!

    Not sure about the logo but they probably had to do something similar to the YO-SUSHI one I guess?

    Cat says:

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