Sri Lanka’s motel signs are clearly under the influence of the Photoshop assisted Hindi film poster montage look. The samples below Click on the images for translations) will give you an idea of the style. It inadvertently bears parallel sensibilities to the Hikaduwa School of Design with a lowered emphasis on the individual uniqueness. The result is an aesthetic that becomes a signifier for the concept of a motel than an indicator for a specific establishment.
A prominent feature of this style is the desire to show off the designer’s skill at merging images grabbed off the internet or life style magazines from the decadent west. Another is to use as many fonts (sorry typefaces) as possible. Drop shadows and glow effects are a priority over trivialities such as legibility. Yet a target audience looking for a motel can quickly find the distinctive sign even from a speeding chariot. It is unlikely that they will be seeking a particular motel anyway. Consequently none of the signs are bothered about branding or what that means.
As with the Hindi film poster, motel sign aesthetic promises to fulfil a set of very expectations. Namely shelter and privacy for a short period. Expectations are low and therefore easily if to profitably fulfils. It is subliminally accepted that the imagery on the sign board has nothing to do with the actual establishment. Anyone who think otherwise would also believe that Bollywood films are all neo realist documentaries.
Some rural establishments seem to operate as the “high end” glamour facility for their locale’s major social infrastructure events (weddings). However it is understandable that “short stays” offer a distinct benefit to a venue’s profit margins.
Given the long held family loyalty towards old fashioned rest-houses, I have never checked out one of these places. If you have, the comment box awaits to your experiences.