DesignStudio’s creates a new luxury hotel brand for TUI Group, The Mora

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The brand idea of ‘Follow your mood into the moment’ is at the core of the visual identity for this new line of luxury hotels.

As we sit here, shivering amid a wintry February, the idea of getting away from it all to a sun-drenched paradise couldn’t be more alluring. But if you’ve been away a few times in your life, you also know that in practice, holidays aren’t always so perfect in reality.

However beautiful the destination or perfect the weather, you often find that sitting back and properly relaxing can be more difficult than you imagined. And that’s not really surprising. After all, you’ve just spent the last few weeks desperately trying to get ahead with work, so you can either hand it over to a colleague (if you’re in a job) or keep your clients and the bank manager happy (if you work for yourself).

Now you’re wired from an early morning start, a tiring flight full of screaming kids, and jet lag to boot. Your hotel is noisy and crowded; all the sun beds have been taken, and the queue for the bar is just making your heart sink.

It’s holiday experiences like this that mean when you get a bit older and have more money, you start to think about spending a little more to get a better experience. And while you know a mass-market brand like TUI offers good value for money, you may be searching for something more high-end.

If so, TUI Hotels & Resorts are already ahead of you. Recently, they decided to diversify their portfolio by introducing a high-end hotel brand that would serve consumers looking for a luxe experience.

They enlisted long-standing partners DesignStudio to define and execute the concept, complete with brand strategy, name, verbal and visual identity and art direction. The new designs are underpinned by a very interesting concept, based on the idea of being ‘in the present’.

Brand idea

Chloe Jensen, strategy director at DesignStudio, provides some background. “Luxury leisure hotels are predominantly designed for escapism from daily life,” she explains. “Transporting you to far-flung corners of the world, beyond horizons… a new world to discover. But holidays and guests aren’t one-size-fits-all. And this isn’t only what new luxury travellers seek.”

In other words, she believes that travellers don’t want pure escapism or mindless indulgence. “They want purpose and authentic connection and to feel in control of how they stay. So we looked to create a brand and experience that viewed holidays as more than a change of scene, but a change of perspective; an energy source for life itself.”

They dubbed this brand idea ‘Follow your mood into the moment’. It is an optimistic sentiment that reflects the audience’s desire to live in the present and focus on the moment.

Name and brand strategy

The brand strategy includes three experience principles that guide every aspect of the brand, from environmental design to customer service style, across different locations, to ensure guests’ experiences “always feel authentically The Mora wherever they may be”.

This concept helped the team develop a suitable name for the new brand. DesignStudio explored names that evoked this sense of being present and in the moment and eventually landed on the name The Mora, which means ‘to pause’ in Latin. The name positions the holiday experience as a chance to reset after what has come before and refocus on what lies ahead.

As Julien Queyrane, creative director at DesignStudio, explains: “The brand concept visualises our brand idea. The Mora provides an outline, which guests can fill out depending on their needs, wants, and desires. It heroes individuality and captures the wonder of being free from rigid rules.”

Visual elements

The custom logo is an elegant, balanced and crafted wordmark that captures the ethos and principles of the brand. It is supported by a headline serif to evoke emotion and wonder and a secondary, more functional font which is minimal, sharp and confident. Typography on the project was created in collaboration with Luke Prowse of Nan.xyx.

Another core graphic element of The Mora brand is outlines. These are filled with objects that depict different aspects of the experience pillars and can be used to tell stories of the guests’ experiences. DesignStudio further developed a system of icons, a functional extension of these outlines, to aid navigation across the hotels.

The new identity also features suitably sophisticated art direction, including stunning brand photography by Salva López, which effortlessly encapsulates The Mora’s distinctive laid-back yet elevated style.

Meanwhile, a vibrant and modern colour palette is inspired by different times of the day. Optimistic, warm and human, its bright accents help differentiate the brand from the competition. The same time-of-day principle is applied to energetic and vibrant textures that can be used as an alternative to art direction and colours.

Shanna Holthaus, global senior brand manager at TUI Group, is delighted with the results. “With the development of The Mora, DesignStudio had the talent to get into our heads and translate everything inside into a tangible, credible and powerfully emotional result, which everyone immediately fell in love with,” he says.

“We wanted to differentiate ourselves from our existing brands and would never have reached this level without the support of DesignStudio, who continuously broadened our horizons.”

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