Beyond Hotel Potential

Redefining the Concept of a Hotel:
A New Hotel Brand Strategy to Showcase Japanese Beauty

THE KNOT is a hotel brand that rediscovers and reconstructs the beauty of regions all over Japan. Every hotel holds a unique personality and aims towards adding new value in its city. We teamed up with interior design company, Tosaken inc. to develop holistic branding for THE KNOT, a multifaceted hotel with diverse character.

Client: Ichigo Inc. / Collab: Tosaken inc.

Never Before Seen: The Most Diverse Hotel Yet

THE KNOT is a multifaceted hotel where each of its locations holds their original character. Needless to say, the hotel’s unique personality exists within everything from not just the interiors, but also to the philosophy and identity such as the logo. We want to be THE KNOT that ties it all together—from the city’s history and culture to the locals and visiting travelers. This mindset actualizes the regionally different, hotel diversity.

Building a Global Brand that
Highlights Its Local Brands

When we first joined the project, the Yokohama and Shinjuku projects were already running, but a global brand was yet to be established. It was necessary to draw together brand synergy by highlighting each of the local brands while establishing THE KNOT itself as a centralized parent brand. We started our role in the project with Brand Manager Mrs. Shimizu to formulate the mission, vision, and identity.

Doubting the Concept of a Hotel
in Search for Brand Authenticity

Each local hotel stands as its own individual hotel brand. We started back at basics by doubting the fundamental concept of a hotel to figure out the type of hotel brand we should aim towards. Through lengthy discussions, we finally reached the idea that the hotel should exist and brand itself as a stage for action rather than the typical purpose of a hotel to simply provide a place to stay.

ブOrganizing Brand Value and Thought Process

What is THE KNOT? We investigated the brand’s true nature starting by illustrating and expanding each hotels’ vision. It’s not just a stay, not just exceptional design, and not just an existing building. While organizing brand values and layers of contemplation, it became apparent that the kind of hotel that THE KNOT strives towards is one a typical hotel cannot fulfill.

A Movement More Than It’s Functionality

By capturing THE KNOT as a movement in itself rather than as a hotel with basic functions to eat and stay, we were able to expand their breadth of services far beyond the box. For example, we expand the hotel’s potential through regional collaborations, artist discoveries and information media. This is THE KNOT’s true nature—a value no other hotel holds.

The Hotel’s Brand Identity That Surpasses Hotel Potential

THE KNOT’s brand identity was finalized as a hotel that goes beyond simply being a hotel. The main identity, “Beyond Hotels = Beyond Hotel Potential,” is what draws a distinctive line between THE KNOT and other hotel brands. The spirit of the brand led to the start of numerous projects in which no other hotel has stepped foot.

We developed the brand identity by adding 2 axes to the core—“Beyond Hotels”.

With the addition of the mission and values, we developed THE KNOT’s brand guidelines.

Delivering The Heart of the Brand to Guests

Just as there are countless forms of travel, this hotel also takes on many different forms. We created a concept to deliver the heart of the brand to the guests at THE KNOT. Published on websites, tabloids, and other media, the message communicates the brand philosophy.

A Universal and Seamless Visual Identity

Each of THE KNOT’s regional hotel brands has a unique logo. The aim for the global brand was to present itself as the overarching parent while still feeling seamless and natural. By developing a neutral visual identity through color systems and typography that can feel familiar to anyone, the goal focused on the diversity of brand content (each individual hotel).


The finest details were taken into consideration, such as adding ligatures to remove unnatural spacings that appear when certain letters come together.

The regional hotel logos, each standing as its own brand. Each also has its own unique VI from the hotel concept to logo.


Letters are largely categorized between sans serif and serif. Selecting neutral typefaces from each category and then combining the two results in a brand originality.

Digital Strategy Maximizing Brand Value

It is impossible to realistically experience the brand without visiting every location. We digitally summarized the beauty of each location and delivered the brand experience to a new audience in order to propel a digital strategy that creates brand synergy. Development started with the brand’s global site, transitioned to owned media and the hotel’s e-commerce sites, and is currently continuing the development progress.

Owned Media that Channels Regional Culture

All types of information—from regional culture and art to events and brand news—can be spread through a digital platform. This is exactly where “Beyond Hotel Potential,” the mind identity, comes from. Owned media that goes beyond the purpose of a hotel was designed to foster the culture of each city.

From surrounding destinations and regional liaisons to art, shopping, food and drinks, there are loads of information to broadcast. By introducing the brand’s voice, guests can easily grasp THE KNOT’s brand image.

Tangible Brand Experience Through

Hotels typically hold the intangible such as the stay itself or their services as their core values. THE KNOT wanted to provide a tangible value, or in other words, a materialistic form of brand experience. From original goods to art decorating the hotel and even collaboration items, there is a variety of goods provided by the hotel. We want to continue the new challenge to provide brand experience even after coming home from traveling.

Selling original local artist collaboration goods through an e-commerce site changes the purpose of an e-commerce site from merely selling goods to a place to experience the brand whenever and wherever.

Selling original local artist collaboration goods through an e-commerce site changes the purpose of an e-commerce site from merely selling goods to a place to experience the brand whenever and wherever.

THE KNOT and Historic Manufacturer’s Challenge

The hotel industry took a hard hit in 2020 due to Coronavirus. Alongside a cut and sew manufacturer based in Tokyo, we developed original masks to hand out to THE KNOT guests and staff free of charge. This collaboration between contrasting industries introduced each brand to a wider audience, creating synergy that respectively perpetuates brand values.

Araiseni is a long-established cut and sew manufacturer
who has held its Tokyo plant for over 50 years
and continues to support domestic apparel brands
to this day.
While the fashion industry was facing
an economic downfall due to Coronavirus,
Araiseni set forth on a new challenge—original masks.

Recognizing this challenge,
we choreographed a collaboration plan
to broadcast Araiseni’s
distinguished technical capabilities
and THE KNOT’s frame of mind.

The original masks that
THE KNOT provided free of charge
while introducing Araiseni’s history and story
resonated with the public
and became popular all over.

The overwhelming response led
to successful commodification
and eventually to collaboration with local artists—
a direct result of Araiseni and THE KNOT
raising each other’s brand values.

This was the moment THE KNOT realized
their original brand identity with a local business.

The leaflet included with the masks introduces Araiseni’s history and story.

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