It's been almost 30 years since the Channel Tunnel opened, linking Britain and France via a 50km underwater railway tunnel beneath the English Channel. Today it sees the launch of its biggest rebrand since the mid-90s, in the hope of appealing to a new generation of travellers.
Getlink, the operator of the 'Chunnel', has collaborated with Landor & Fitch to update the brand including a revised name, logo and full visual identity system. Effective immediately, the service will now be known as LeShuttle.
The move comes after consumer data showed awareness among the public was confused around the Channel Tunnel passenger and car services. "There are generations of travellers born after the Channel Tunnel's opening who are more familiar with flying than self-drive," says Landor & Fitch. It's this, combined with growing competition from other modes of travel, that forced LeShuttle to shift perceptions and engage new audiences, transforming a brand that is seen as a relevant and different low-carbon form of transport.
Landor & Fitch worked closely with the LeShuttle team on an extensive redesign during a ten-month process. The work was based on a key consumer insight that travelling is associated with a feeling of with freedom, until consumers are faced with the reality of a typically complicated process. "The team identified that the rebrand needed to showcase the simplicity, speed, and care LeShuttle's service offers travellers and unlocks the freedom they want from their journey," explains the agency. As such, the new identity aims to give the brand a greater level of personality, spirit and optimism, as well as make it feel more futuristic.
Rolled out to billboard and train, app to uniform, the new brand has been built on the pillars of "simplicity, speed, and care", with an emphasis on travelling "your way". It's this "way" that aims to celebrate people and their journey stories, "evoking freedom from constraints and compromise and a personal and caring service rather than a functional experience associated with the past". This new approach meant that 'Eurotunnel' was removed from the name to separate the infrastructure from the service and give a more contemporary feel.
The work covers all touchpoints and experience markers that shape the traveller's journey. It began with the logo which has been redeveloped, with a wordmark that visually represents what sets LeShuttle apart, i.e. "speed, efficiency and care". The full identity was then created with a look and feel that differentiates from traditional train services in that is more fast-paced and centres around evoking emotion. Accompanying photography has a "user-generated" feel to give a sense that everyone's journey is different and to celebrate the travelling experience.
The colour palette, meanwhile, has moved away from the nationalistic identity to predominantly black and white with hints of purple. It feels fresh, exciting and marks a brand new chapter for LeShuttle. The redesign is part of a wider strategy to completely rethink the Channel Tunnel experience over the next decade. "We worked closely with the brilliant team at Getlink who encouraged us to push boundaries and be extraordinary," says Graham Sykes from Landor & Fitch. "We are extremely excited about the new brand which symbolises LeShuttle entering the digital age and attracting a new generation of travellers giving them the freedom to travel their way."
Getlink's Deborah Merrens adds: "LeShuttle is an enduring symbol of the unique relationship between the UK and France, inaugurated nearly 30 years ago by Queen Elizabeth II and François Mitterrand. As we move deeper into the new century, we recognised the time was right to refresh for new generations of travellers that weren't alive when the Tunnel opened. Working closely with Landor & Fitch, we’ve rebranded LeShuttle with an identity that highlights its flexibility, speed, and commitment to sustainability. We are looking forward to a new phase of LeShuttle’s history as we begin celebrations for the Channel Tunnel's 30th anniversary next year."