Hollywood Hills Hotel

Merit Award

Septuagenarian brothers Mel and Bernie Adler own the Hollywood Hills Hotel; their parents bought the nondescript brick building in 1948. Located on a gritty urban street within walking distance of new glamorous hotels and restaurants on Hollywood Boulevard, the hotel badly needed a refresh. The remodel was a challenge: the budget was modest and the site was messy, with two imperfect buildings (the original 1929 building and a 1970s addition). But by blurring the line between graphics and architecture, Newsom Design created a strong identity for a place that likes to bill itself as “the hotel closest to the Hollywood Sign.”
The complete graphic program included a logo; a large mural directional, ADA, code, and information signs; and large painted graphics directing motorists through the complicated site.

Starting with the logo, Newsom Design developed a visual vocabulary composed of Hollywood flair, old-school painted signs, and casual dot patterns. The super-scaled pixel dot mural that distinguishes the façade of the hotel was inspired by Pop artist Ed Ruscha; the Adlers love his work, particularly his Hollywood-inspired paintings. The mural was designed to read as Klieg lights from a distance, but dissolves into a random pattern up close. The finishing touch is the word “hotel” in hot pink script at the crossing of the Klieg lights, conceived as the “lipstick kiss” of a starlet in a glamour shot.

Jury Comments: 

“The playful equity of this hotel clearly comes out in its brand identity and visual execution...I want to go and stay there because of it.”

“The hotel is a delightful mix of practical and playful. It makes the most if its location yet also creates a value-added commentary. ‘Last cappuccino before the 101’ sites the hotel both physically and culturally. It makes me want to stay there.”

“A whimsical yet disciplined nod to a mid-century classic design sensibility. The preservation of existing elements and creative articulation of the architectural lines as graphic design brings new life and narrative to the building. I'm staying here next time in Los Angeles.”

“Love this project. It's just great fun. A combination of witty touches and 'Hollywood flair' really well done.”

Design Firm: 

Newsom Design


Mel and Bernie Adler

Location City: 

Hollywood, Calif.

Project Area: 

47,000 sq ft

Open Date: 

May 2011

Project Budget: 

$75,000 (signage)

Photo Credits: 

Tim Street-Porter, Brian Lane, Lucy Gonzalez

Design Team: 

Lucy Gonzalez (designer and project manager)


Koning Eizenberg Architecture (architecture)


Frankly Made (mural and painted flower), TFN Architectural Signage (monument signs, painted directionals, exterior site signage)

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