Jesús López rebrands a boutique Mexican hotel to reflect its local history and landscape

From its muted colour palette to retro type and use of historic found imagery, this branding will make you want an extended stay.

22 April 2024

In the heart of Hermosillo, Sonora in Mexico, lies the small boutique hotel, Champ. Located on a street called Campodónico, named after the waltz composer Rodolfo Campodónico, it has long been heralded for its historical ties and reference to his nickname ‘Champ’. In a rebrand for the hotel, Jesús López honours its desert location, city influence, the local spirit and Sonoran traditions.

Jesús hails from northern Mexico and specifically the city of Hermosillo. During his childhood he spent his free time drawing, and by his teens he could be found creating posters for local bands he played in. He eventually decided to study graphic design, and ever since, he’s been creating for local projects, both near and far. “I’m always proud to put my city on the map,” Jesús tells us. So when Champ contacted the designer and made him aware of the specifics of the project, it was full steam ahead. “I was immediately drawn to it because I found it desertic and romantic,” he adds.

One of the most prominent parts of the rebrand is the muted colour palette. It was chosen by Jesús to reflect the vastness of the north Mexican region, “where the vastness of the land and the sky reign supreme”, Jesús says. More specifically, he was inspired by the way the saturated colours of the landscape are muted when it rains, an occurrence which is “very rare” in the region, Jesús tells us. This can be seen throughout the hotel’s product packaging, but more significantly in the postcards and ephemeral materials created to honour Sonora. “I used imagery from old postcards, photos found in basements and thrift shops”, alongside retro type to reflect Champ’s historical ties and highlight it as a place of comfort for the guests.


Jesús López: Champ (Copyright © Jesús López, 2024)

When looking at the identity for Champ, it’s clear that Jesús decided to honour not only Sonora’s historical landscape, but the emotions that a novice to the land may experience upon visiting. “We started with research,” in the form of local history books, old journals and newspapers, Jesús shares. This led him to connect the street’s name with Rodolfo Campodónico’s story, his nickname and the name of the hotel. His process enabled him to do more than create charming visuals, but create an experience for visitors to become immersed in the local history. This is usually the job of tour guides or front of house staff at the hotel, but Jesús has ensured that it is even embedded in the visuals.

For Jesús, the main challenge of the overall design process is simultaneously appealing to the tastes of the client and the public. But when he employs choices such as assembling the business card text and titling in a slant to make it feel like a documentary – “very natural, almost neutral, not in-your-face, subtle like the desert” – it’s clear that he strikes that balance. The designer reflects the original character of Champ and visually sets it apart from other hotels. “I want people to know that it has its own personality and story to tell.”

GalleryJesús López: Champ (Copyright © Jesús López, 2024)

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Jesús López: Champ (Copyright © Jesús López, 2024)

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About the Author

Yaya Azariah Clarke

Yaya (they/them) joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in June 2023 and became a staff writer in November of the same year. With a particular interest in Black visual culture, they have previously written for publications such as WePresent, alongside work as a researcher and facilitator for Barbican and Dulwich Picture Gallery.

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