Hotel Santa Rita

Hotel Santa Rita

The Hotel Santa Rita is a boutique luxury hotel located in Midland TX. With an opening date of 2018, the team is currently in the process of completing construction and development.

They came to us with a single event in history; the story of the Santa Rita No 1. Beyond the immediate branding needs of the hotel, we also had to work within the holding company’s plan for their family of hotels; all of which would build upon story telling to convey the spirit of an area vs something dictated by simply style or architecture. We wanted to define an authentic Midland experience. We felt, people stay in a boutique hotel to gain a unique insight into the area, but if you have been to Midland you know this isn’t immediately apparent what this may be.With a story driven brand, there is always the danger of trying to say too much. You don’t want to overwhelm or you lose all the power of the story. Keep it simple and keep it compelling.We didn’t want it to feel like a museum. While we are telling the story of a specific point in time, it can’t feel like a history class.Our research buried us in the archives; sifting through the dusty pages and newspapers from the 1920’s. We wanted to know everything we could about the Santa Rita No 1 to take the core story and pull it throughout the many sub brands that existed inside the hotel (from restaurants to barber shops). Then, we had to understand the people of Midland as the Santa Rita was simply a vehicle to communicate the city’s true nature. We made trips, struck up conversations and read anything available about the full history of Midland. In that research we found how to connect the story of the Santa Rita with the people of Midland today. This led us to the Brand Story for the hotel and the history of the Santa Rita:The Santa Rita No. 1 was the first proof oil existed in the Permian Basin and named after the patroness saint of impossible causes. She certainly lived up to her name out in the desert landscape of what was then a desolate, dusty area known as the oil man’s graveyard. For years, men of great wealth, knowledge and hope had come only to be disillusioned by the unforgiving terrain of West Texas. It would be the inexperienced but astonishingly resourceful pair of Frank T. Pickrell and Haymond Krupp that turned foolish hopes into an enterprise that would change the course of history, but not without first enlisting the help of an unlikely partner. 

Before the construction of the well began, a group of Catholic women were approached to invest. They were of course quite dubious of the endeavor and hoped to improve the probability of success where so many had tried and failed. As a condition of their investment, they handed Pickrell an envelope with a blessed single rose and requested the dried crimson petals be scattered from the crown block saying simply, “I hereby christen thee Santa Rita.” 

Invoking the saint of the impossible by no measure made the journey to success easy. For 646 long and certainly fearful days, the team chipped away at sand, salt and rock. Until on the morning of May 28, 1923 as a spray of glittering oil painted the land black, she made good on her promise. The Santa Rita No. 1 stills shows the power of optimism, the tenacity of the human spirit and the belief the impossible is within reach.

Graphically, we wanted to pull from the romanticism of the openness in the landscape and the natural beauty from the area. From the vibrant colors of the flowers to the natural cleanness of fibers and bones typically used to decorate the surrounding ranch houses, we found inspired colors.
For the hotel, we wanted a central core brand that was simple, clean and timeless. To add layers, we wanted the core logo’s bold strength and modern sophistication to be paired with old photos of the oil field and the well worn faces of experienced roughnecks.
As seen throughout Midland, one of the few architectural cues was a usage of patterns and geometric shapes throughout downtown. We loved the idea of using a complimentary pattern with each of the sub brands as well as the main brand. Our inspiration here is a subtle and subconscious reference to the idea of drilling down to find the oil and oil springing to the surface, but we aren’t expecting anyone to see this literally as much as feel it.

Outside of a simple core brand, we also wanted to create a family of marks to surround the core brand. More as an art concept than a singular logo, we liked the idea of imagining what the brand could have looked like from the discovery of the Santa Rita to now. You can see below the mix of styles to show an imagined life of the logo throughout time and to be used in interesting ways throughout products inside the hotel.
Now that we had a core logo in place, we needed to create a family of brands, we felt could live in harmony with the Hotel Santa Rita while having their own flavor and appeal. For us, this meant a united extended color palette. Drawing on the inspiration of quite literally ‘black gold’ of oil, we created a complimentary color palette to carry through the sub brands. All connecting to the story of the discovery of the Santa Rita, we named and designed the interior world of the Santa Rita.
This was one of our favorite projects we love to pair what we are drawn to in our own lives with what we create in our work. Here we are creating a world of stories from restaurant to retail to travel and product.



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Through many years of experience, and quite a bit of soul searching, we have found a way to live lives that help us generate our best work. It's why we look so happy in pictures. Our dedication to exploration and being uncomfortable keeps us inspired, constantly expands our world-view, and brings us mindful rest to refuel and rejuvenate our creative thinking. To find the balance between long immersive journeys and having the proper time to craft our work… we limit the number of clients we work with annually to fit within our 9 month work season. We also work hard to work with people who also share a healthy outlook on work and life. Having the right clients (not just big ones) is critical for not just enjoying our work, but generating brands that matter and endure over time. Brand building is mentally draining, in a great way, when you have a healthy working relationship with the people on the other side of the table. We expend all of our energy into making new things for people we work with. It requires trust and aligning what you want out of a partner with who we are. Different firms have different styles, different approaches, different goals, different values, and different definitions of success. We are just plain different on many levels. Finding the right fit can determine a lot about what we can create together. We hope we are a good fit for you. Send us a note and let's find out. We would love to hear about what ideas you need help bringing to life, or reinventing.  


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