Merging rail giants with a spark
Launched in 1994, Eurostar is a pioneer of international high-speed train travel, connecting the UK, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and now Germany. In 2022, Eurostar merged with Thalys with the intention of becoming a single brand by the end of 2023. DesignStudio created the new brand and design system to bring the two travel powerhouses together and help them achieve their ambitious vision: to double passenger numbers to 30 million people a year by 2030.
Through a series of workshops, we worked with Eurostar and Thalys stakeholders to capture the heritage and essence of both brands, whilst evolving them into the future. This is a significant moment in time for Eurostar to progress the way it operates, and the visual identity needed to make a bold leap to help the brand achieve its growth objectives and better reflect the role it plays in connecting people through train travel.
Our brand idea and creative platform, Spark New, symbolises how Eurostar is now supercharged to spark new experiences, new ideas and new opportunities.
At the heart of the rebrand is a reimagined symbol, a new north star and icon for the brand. With the creation of this symbol, a combination of the Eurostar E and a star, Eurostar officially has its star back. The supporting bespoke word mark typography nods to the 1994 version with the lowercase italic letter forms.
The Spark is designed to be a flexible and dynamic asset. It breaks free from the symbol to create a graphic device for use across the full brand experience - from train livery and across stations, to digital platforms including website, apps, social media and TVCs. The Spark takes on a wide range of motion behaviours like rotating, extruding and dropping into locations, acting like a navigational compass to guide you around your city destination.The new identity modernises the Eurostar and Thalys colours, centering on a punchy blue and deep navy, and supported by six secondary colours that take inspiration from the diversity and vibrancy of Europe.
“The new brand forges us together with a bold reimagining - it arms us for growth, driving reengagement with existing customers, and discovery by new travellers.”
HEAD OF BRAND DEVELOPMENT, EUROSTAR GROUP
The headline typography, La Pontaise, gives a distinct and elegant feel whilst bringing warmth and impact with high contrast characters. To capture the eclectic nature of Europe, we partnered with seven illustrators across the five countries in the Eurostar network to craft a suite of illustrations, bringing to life the unique feeling and energy of the destinations. Alongside the illustration, we art directed a new photography library with photographer John Adrian, which captures the joy and spontaneity of discovery through travel.
The new Eurostar visual identity was revealed at a press launch in January 2023 in Brussels. The resulting extensive coverage spanned the national, business, marketing and creative press. The brand will fully launch by the end of 2023 with a new website, mobile app, uniforms and full brand experience.
Vanessa Van Merrhaeghe