Eurostar, the high-speed train between London and mainland Europe, has unveiled a dynamic new branding scheme designed to capture its bursting ambitions as it barrels full-speed ahead toward dominating European rail.
The scheme does away with the three swooshy lines that characterized Eurostar’s old logo — one line for each of the three countries, where it traveled — and replaces them with a lowercase “e” sliced by a single swoosh. The “e,” which is based on a real sculpture rendered in Maya then built out of steel and fiberglass, is meant to look like an abstract train flying through a tunnel. And it’s just the starting point for a larger graphic concept that includes pictograms and custom typography and will be applied to all things Eurostar, from business cards to train cars to restrooms. The theme: moving forward.
The design ushers in a massive transformation at Eurostar. The company reorganized recently from three companies with partners in England, France, and Belgium into one London-based entity, and has plans to foray into other countries, like Holland and Germany, hot on the heels of new European laws that free train operators to run anywhere in the EU. To that end, Eurostar is sinking 700 million pounds into its fleet, ramping up its partnerships with tourist attractions in new regions, and trotting out a yet-unnamed celebrity chef to advise passengers on dining (please don’t let it be Jamie Oliver!).
The goal of the rebrand, by U.K.-based SomeOne, is to organize these diverse ambitions in a visual framework that can travel across a vast range of media and surfaces. SomeOne cofounder Simon Manchipp explains in a prepared statement:
[The branding scheme includes pictograms for train interiors, which will be designed by Pininfarina]
[Different materials will connote different passenger classes]
Which sounds great and all, but to judge by the images, we don’t see tons of adaptability, beyond assorted surface treatments on the “e” to point up different passenger classes (how British). And while the “e” probably works great in 3-D — as Creative Review writes, “A giant sculpture, perhaps wrapped by some famous artist, would no doubt look spectacular at the entrance to Gare-du-Nord or St Pancras” — we worry that it’s too much look for other media. On something like letterhead, it would just chew the scenery.
Recall that some of the best dynamic logos of recent memory, like PWC and Comedy Central, succeeded because they eschewed complexity in favor of simple forms that play just as well online as in print. We can’t say the same about Eurostar. But frankly, it’s too soon to judge — SomeOne still has a year working with the train operator to deliver on the new concept. Here’s to hoping it travels farther than we can imagine.
[Images courtesy of SomeOne]