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From Concept to Acclaim: EBD’s 2023 Award Showcase

2023 was another year of remarkable creativity at Ellen Bruss Design. We’re celebrating sixteen awards from competitions held across the nation. As always, thank you to our incredible clients who trusted us to create and grow their brands.

The Frontier Drive-Inn: A Place Branding Project

Welcome to the Frontier, a project that encompasses both the visual and physical articulation of a brand – placemaking. Read more on how we turned a run-down drive-in into a vibrant experiment showcasing art, architecture and hospitality.

Creating Outstanding Brand Names

Naming places, products and companies can be challenging. EBD helps to make the process fun and rewarding through extensive research, strategy and creativity. Which results in unique, memorable names that help you stand out in the marketplace.


December 26, 2019


3 min read

A Residence Inn by Marriott Becomes A Mountain Local

The Wilson Hotel, which opened summer 2019 In Big Sky, Montana, took design inspiration from the historic architecture found throughout the state—an overt nod to the grand hotels of Montana’s past. Its name is also a local reference to nearby Wilson Peak that overlooks Big Sky.

The Wilson Hotel front lobby with the gold logo signage above the front desk.

Operating as a Residence Inn by Marriott, The Wilson Hotel offered a chance to bring a major hotel brand to the area and provide Big Sky travelers and Yellowstone Park vacationers a hotel option that would match the quality standards and superior customer experience they’re accustomed to in larger cities. It’s a restful escape for guests to discover, enjoy and connect with nature and the surrounding environment, and it adds to Big Sky’s appeal.

The Wilson Hotel collateral created by EBD.

EBD was tapped to create a distinctly authentic brand for this getaway that reflected the ethos of Montana– friendly, approachable and hospitable—and to establish the hotel as THE place to be in Big Sky’s new Town Center Plaza. To position The Wilson Hotel as the highest in comfort, elegance and local charm was the easy part. But to establish the brand in such a way that would continue to honor the geography and culture, and execute it while in partnership with a national hospitality chain, was a unique opportunity.

In order to achieve this, we leaned into Montana’s historical roots and sensibility which we channeled into a contemporary brand identity. Selecting a classic and elegant color palette of blue, cream and gold gave the brand a refined look which complemented the vintage, red brick building façade.

To position The Wilson Hotel as the highest in comfort, elegance and local charm was the easy part.

Wilson Hotel branded tote bag, coffee cup, and hat designed by EBD.

Then we solved the co-branding issue. Working within Marriott guidelines, we established primary, secondary and accent logo marks that feature Wilson while ensuring the Marriott brand is still prominent. We also developed usage guidelines for visual hierarchy and determined when and where each should be used in all of the varying mediums and applications.

The exterior of The Wilson Hotel front entrance.

The final step was to develop a comprehensive brand system for The Wilson Hotel, from operational collateral and advertising, to merchandise, interior and exterior signage—even the hotel shuttle-van wrap and custom bike decals!

When you visit, you’ll see the large corner sign with an iconic vintage-inspired clock. Truly a visual point of interest and landmark for The Wilson Hotel—the anchor of the Town Center and the heart of the community.

The Wilson Hotel blade sign designed by EBD at night in the the snow.