Nick Mercer, Commercial Director of Eurostar says that this rebrand sets to underpin significant change.
“After an amazing 16 years of providing the leading European international train service, we have committed to a £700m investment to radically improve and invent new services, products and their organisation as a whole. “The organisation — once three companies spread over three countries — is now one London-based company and is more agile and speedily adaptive than ever before. “With so much change — we needed a way to signal what’s new within the service — our new brand identity will signal these changes… so where you see the new look, you’ll experience our new thinking.”
Change is afoot at Eurostar and the new £700m investment is already taking effect.
Design is very much at the heart of the new thinking. Every customer experience is being deeply considered to ensure the traveller gets the very best out of their time on-board, on-line or on any part of the Eurostar experience.
Everything is designed to reflect Eurostar’s design-led ethos. One brand, many ideas — all beautifully designed to give people a better experience.
A new fleet of state-of-the-art trains has been designed, with interiors created by Pininfarina to redefine what customers should expect from international train travel. A new faster website speeds up booking by at least 20% as well as allowing customers to more swiftly and easily create bespoke travel plans beyond the three core destinations of Paris, Brussels & London.
The eco program ‘TreadLightly’ will be improved and more deeply applied to the bedrock of all new design thinking ensuring Eurostar remains one of the most carbon efficient and ecologically sound ways of traveling.
SomeOne’s approach to the re-brand was unusual in that it didn’t rely on one idea, but many ideas in many channels to create a more adaptive, flexible and useful brand identity. At SomeOne we’re quite well known for having said we don’t think logos do enough to help products, services and organisations differentiate, communicate and adapt in the modern world. So we created a multitude of ways Eurostar can create exiting experiences for their customers and staff, everything is adaptive, everything points towards Eurostar’s design-led point of view.
Some of the things that are included in this first burst of work:
Eurostar has three levels of service. Standard, Standard Premier, & Business Premier. The new names and branding for each of the services were created by SomeOne.
Each experience is very different, yet each service is very Eurostar. So it made sense for the new visual brand identity and BrandWorld to be applied across the three tiers, but so they remained easily differentiated for ease of use, each was given it’s own brand identity principles, colours, tone of voice, and imagery.
Eurostar had three different services when you booked a ticket.
You could travel ‘Business Premier’ — which meant you could use the lounge, travel in the Business Premier class carriage (the best carriages) and get great food and drink onboard, at your seat, for one price. You could even check-in super quick which meant even less waiting time. The thing is, everyone just called it ‘First Class’.
You could get the regular service from what was called ‘Standard Class’ — here you got great value travel and it’s the core of the Eurostar brand.
Then there was the ‘other one’ that was called ‘Leisure Select’. No one really understood what it was, how it differed from Standard, or ‘First’ — but it was actually brilliant. You got to travel in the front section of the train, get good food on-board to your seat and receive a considerably better experience than traveling in ‘Standard Class’.
The problem was the offer wasn’t clear. The naming was confusing. There were three totally different visual brand identities that didn’t connect. Signage was confusing and often led to those with Leisure Select tickets trying to get through the fast-track check-in or booking desks when in fact the tickets were only valid to go through regular channels.
This confusion often led to disappointing customer experiences and made it hard for people to make the right choice when it came to buying tickets. It also made it very hard for the staff at Eurostar to describe the three offers and therefore tough to sell.
How did we crack it? With new Nonclamenture we simplified things by just describing each class:
You would be hard pressed to find someone who could really describe the three classes of service offered a year ago. Things had become confusing and we were not doing our offer justice with the branding. Now we have three clear points of view that elegantly connect to the Eurostar vision of travel. We’re delighted with the results.
There are now elegant loyalty schemes.
For frequent travellers, Eurostar has it’s own loyalty schemes. Like air miles, for train travel — they reward repeat usage by either giving preferential treatment (like access to Business Premier lounges and fast-track channels) or by giving discounts on travel.
Carte Classique was the unsung entry-level loyalty scheme that sat under Carte Blanche which stood alone. They had a completely seperate look and feel and bore no relation to the Eurostar brand. The collateral was expensive to produce and communications were not clear about what members actually got in return for joining the scheme.
Eurostar Plus was widely misunderstood and needed to be reconsidered. It was so multi-faceted it was beginning to become fragmented before it had a chance to become established.
Loyalty schemes often use the same clichés — gold, silver & black — we were thrilled to see SomeOne creating something logical yet lateral with the materials and ideas they chose to apply to our Carte Classique, Carte Blanche & Eurostar Plus — it’s given each of the schemes it’s own opinion, it’s own look, and further differentiated us as an original voice in travel.
We created a bespoke display typeface to help create a fully cohesive visual brand identity for Eurostar. This enables the brand to communicate to it’s audience without the need for traditional badging — simply by using the typeface, with its signature swash characters, communications can be branded by the application of the typeface.
The Eurostar brand sculpture contains a long flowing line that represents the idea of effortless travel. We used that curved line to create swash characters for a bespoke version of Fresco. While the Eurostar branding uses all of the Fresco typographic family, Fresco Informal is the more playful part of the Fresco family that we employed for headline usage.
We created a bespoke headline cut for Regular, Bold & Italics that had swashes extending to the left. Then we did the same to allow swashes to flow out to the right. This way headlines can be branded simply by applying a swash character to the left & right of the sentence or word. There are swash characters for both upper and lowercase, as well as special characters and numerals.
“When we began the journey to create a new visual brand identity for Eurostar, I didn’t consider a bespoke typeface to be part of the end result. But now we have it, I can’t imagine not having one. It’s incredibly useful to have it as part of the brand toolkit, and it looks beautiful.”
Eurostar is an international service with many nationalities of people using the service every day. Non-written communications are the only practical way of signposting the essentials on-board. From safety information to where to find your nearest glass of champagne.
The pictograms used on-board had evolved from basic standard icons and needed a total overhaul to ensure everything the customer experienced was easy to understand, efficient and lightly reminded people that they were on-board a Eurostar service.
We created an entire set of pictograms and symbols that both conformed to European safety standards, and were ground breaking in the way they connected the sculptural twisting forms of the brand’s sculpture to the wayfinding.
We wanted to create pictograms with enough detail that they were interesting at large sizes and held the sculptural form present in the sculpture, but that also worked well at a glance (and conformed to international safety standards). It was quite a tall order, but I think the ambition has paid off.
SomeOne also designed functionality into the pictograms that makes them more useful to the customer. For example, where possible, they can animate or simply change colour — colour-change systems will indicate if a facility is vacant or engaged.
While these pictograms and symbols are going to be used primarily on-board they are also going to be applied online where the brand needed to signal actions in a globally understood non-written format.
We asked for a new set of symbols that conformed to international safely standards, but that felt ‘Eurostar‘ — we got so much more… it’s an entirely ownable visual language that extends from our core brand identity.
Eurostar is a physical product, a service, and an organisation, but it is also a deeply-loved promise of an easier, simpler, more effortless way to travel between the UK and Europe. In research, and by just watching on Twitter, we saw a huge amount of excitement that comes with travelling on Eurostar.
Twitter is often alight with praise and the thrill of arriving in London from Paris in such an effortless way. There’s no nasty 2hr check-in, no over-the-top security, just sensible, slick, well run systems that get you on your way swiftly and efficiently.
It was this feeling of effortless travel, of the fact that Eurostar opens the way to new experiences that we wanted to get across in the branding — it felt right to do something progressive, something beautiful, something sculptural.
Trains speed through the tunnel leaving a wash of air in their wake. We wanted to capture this speed as it darted through a loop that represents the tunnel… but the experience of Eurostar is multifaceted, so we wanted the sculpture to appear radically different depending on the material it was made of and the angle from which it was viewed.
We looked at the work of Zaha Hadid — the way she uses highly progressive systems to create effortless lines in her architecture… and the artistic movement of the Futurists who captured the idea of motion, speed, and dynamism so elegantly.
We made a physical sculpture that acted as a basis for the aesthetic of the brand as well as an ever-changing and adaptive logo. We will also use it physically in Eurostar locations across Europe.
Core structures were crafted in CAD programme Maya to achieve the perfect form, then went to high-resolution texture mapping, and finally Photoshop to achieve the quality of image files we needed to be future-proof.
We didn’t stop at computer modelling. We wanted to do this in real-life so people could see this symbol of change for themselves. We worked with rapid prototyping which enables computer graphic files to be ‘printed’ in three dimensions. Large scale moulds were cut using robot arm milling machines that were then crafted by hand to create casts for the fibreglass shells that contain a steel skeleton that holds the sculpture together. They get heavy. The 3-metre version takes four strong people to lift it!
When we presented it to the board of Eurostar it got a spontaneous round of applause! You wouldn’t get that from just a logo!
SomeOne have not just re-branded our organisation, they have created a work of art that we are simply delighted to call our own.