DesignStudio's colourful new identity for Eurostar Group brings together rail providers Thalys and Eurostar to create a single, exciting brand that will take the business into the future.
Featuring a new logo, symbol, colour palette, photography, illustration and even sonic branding, the distinctive Eurostar Group identity aims to respect the heritage of both powerhouse brands and lay a foundation that allows the network to modernise for the future. And with the network aiming to carry 30 million passengers annually by 2030, it needed an appropriately bold aesthetic.
DesignStudio wisely retained the best bits of existing iconography, including the Eurostar name, due to its 'powerful equity and global recognition'. Meanwhile, the previous branding's letter 'e' imagery has been given a stylish overhaul, making it a distinctive star-based logo. Bespoke wordmark typography – made in collaboration with Or Type – supports this icon, which nods to the 1994 iteration with the lowercase italic forms.
"This is a significant milestone in our history, and the union of these two iconic businesses as a single brand is the result of a powerful collaboration between Eurostar, Thalys and DesignStudio," says Mario Rauter, Eurostar Group's head of brand development.
"The new brand respects the heritage and embeds both Thalys and Eurostar's essential DNA, but forges us together and pushes us forward for a bold reimagining. The new brand and design system arms us for growth in both new and existing markets, driving re-engagement with existing customers and discovery by new travellers. DesignStudio has truly helped us achieve our vision to spark new opportunities through train travel."
At the heart of the new rebrand is the spark symbol, which is a clever reference not only to the experiences the network wants to generate but the connections that it will help to forge. The arms of the spark burst from OOH displays and screens, appearing to reach out and pull together different destinations that travellers can venture off to.
The flexible and dynamic asset will also appear across train liveries and stations and is intended to act like a navigational compass which will help to guide users to their city destination. DesignStudio Creative Director Julien Queyrane explains that working closely with Eurostar and Thalys helped them to capture the essence of the brand's near-30-year heritage and evolve them into the future.
"This led to our brand idea and creative platform, Spark New, which symbolises how the new Eurostar Group brand is supercharged to spark new experiences, new ideas and new opportunities through high-speed train travel," he reveals.
As for the existing Eurostar and Thalys colours, these have also been modernised by turning them into a "punchy" blue and a sleek deep navy. A secondary palette of six colours inspired by the diversity and vibrancy of the continent itself further helps to cement the Eurostar Group identity as a forward-looking brand.
David Moloney, DesignStudio design director, describes how the team arrived at this creative solution: "We wanted to bring back the sense of pride in the brand for employees and customers who expect a premium travel experience. At the heart of the rebrand is a reimagined symbol that parts ways with the old metallic e ribbon for a new north star and bold icon for the brand."
The pride people on the continent have for train travel is further reflected in the identity of a suite of artworks created by seven illustrators across five countries. These capture each destination's unique feeling and energy and are complemented by photography created in collaboration with John Adrian, who captures the joy and spontaneity of discovery through travel.
Eurostar Group, DesignStudio and Zelig Sound have also developed the new sonic branding, designed to create branded moments and recognition in stations, on TVCs and beyond. And with the new identity set to roll out by the end of 2023, passengers won't have long to wait to see what the future of Eurostar Group looks, feels and sounds like.