Branding / Illustration . Signage . UI . UX
Nestled along the Montezuma River basin between the mountains and the Gulf of Nicoya in Costa Rica, Sunshine Sanctuary is the perfect boutique hotel experience for those who seek to immerse themselves in adventure, and that quaint community spirit. Initially, the owners were in rather pressing need for a sign to attract passers by from the dirt road by the entrance... obviously this warranted the development of a brand identity.
They knew they wanted a hummingbird and hibiscus flower to represent their hotel in the logo design as they were EVERYWHERE throughout the area and property. This seemed like a lot to have going on in a logo design so it was a perfect opportunity to utilize some bold, connective line work that played off light and shadow... the illustrator in me really re-surfaced for this one. Some of the criteria that we derived around the ideal brand was inspired by the art nouveau style as it appeared across latin culture and even in street art. I was sure to cue off of that inspiration in the first direction while composing the version with multiple hummingbirds arcing over the larger fanning classical flower shape (shown left). This direction emphasized the "community" element above all else. Again, the illustrator in me then just sort of wandered and and landed on what would ultimately be the final design (not left). Timeless, vibrant, loose, organic, lively yet tranquil and immersive would be the descriptive foundation for this new symbol of Sunshine Sanctuary. Above all, it had to be authentic, one of a kind like the property.
Once our new hummingbird friend was proudly displayed out front it was time for a new website to reflect the brand identity and all that Sunshine Sanctuary had to offer. The continuation of the various branded elements organically fell into place as the home, and subsequent pages were designed and developed.
The framework and layout was very much integrated into those various brand elements such as the shadows of foliage, animating text wheels and energetic hummingbirds throughout. We wanted the user to find themselves surprised and delighted as they navigated the site and of course, inspired. The imagery of the property and surrounding area did the rest.
Granted the nature of the predominant users for the site being travelers, we gave that extra TLC to the mobile version. While it was still important to elicit all of those emotions that come with the User Interface Design, there were a myriad of functional components. The funnel from A (initial interface) to B (booking a room and/or retreat) must be intuitive and user friendly enough to execute while walking through an airport or on a choppy boat - WiFi permitting.
As with any mobile site, the nuances of things like button size and proximity, spacial orientation, and the composition of relative content received acute attention. Future company retreat? I'll pull some strings!