Branding Takes Inspiration From Property and History
Since the pandemic, the hospitality space has found itself in a state of rapid evolution, need to meet customers’ intensifying demand for unique, personalized experiences. Navigating this change is California’s Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort and Mineral Springs, a local institution that dates back to the 195os and is renowned for its hot springs, spa and its founder’s signature approach to wellness. Looking to rethink the entire brand experience for the COVID era, resort owner Chartres Lodging Group partnered with branding and design studio CONTINO to launch a new design-centered, retail-supported concept for the boutique luxury resort.
To make sure the rebrand reflected the spirit of the original Dr. Wilkinson’s, CONTINO took inspiration from the property itself and looked through as many historical photos, writings, and ads as possible. They also took care to retain original quirky artistic flourishes by Wilkinson’s wife and partner Edy, such as the custom mosaics she designed around the property. Says CONTINO Founder and CCO Jon Contino: “We wanted to represent the actual elements that make Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs unique, giving everything a feeling of clay and ash, the movement of the relaxing hot water and the textures of the mud. To us, a representation of what you actually experience in this place seemed so much more effective than just trying to mimic another high-end spa.”
The result was a complete reimagining of the brand experience, including a new logo based on a refreshed version of the classic script type used in its neon sign, as well as a new website and a refresh of all the design elements. “We wanted everything to feel very loose and organic, very gestural,” adds Contino. “From the murals and background elements to the water-like patterns to the wispy, raw yet balanced feel of the illustrations showing abstracted figures relaxing – “everything needed to feel casual and stress-free.” CONTINO also used wayfinding and signage upgrades to enhance the guests experience and move through the resort.
Central to the new brand was a renewed focus on the food and retail experiences. CONTINO not only led branding and design for “health food meets comfort food” cafe House of Better, but designed custom packaging for collaborative spa products like bath salts and at-home spa treatments, as well as blankets, towels, clothing, water bottles, and other spa mainstays.