Eurostar has recently changed its original 1994 logo for something more… Hum… Modern? Swish? Stylish? Different? Vulgar? Cheesy? Ugly? Spermatozoid-like? You name it; most passengers already said it.
According to the Channel tunnel high-speed passenger rail service, the update was necessary; and to explain on the company’s official Facebook page, that the logo is “to reflect the plans and ambitions for our business in the future. We gave this a lot of thought as we know how much our travellers like our logo. We researched it extensively to ensure that it captures the key characteristics of Eurostar and creates an identity that signals the next phase of our business.”
Wait a minute, they changed their logo to “reflect the plans and ambitions” for the company’s business in the future. What plans and ambitions does the logo actually reflect? There’s nothing else than the letter “e”, a wave and the name of the company. Unless Eurostar is to start a ferry-boat business to cross the Channel – we never know! – I can’t quite understand how these three elements may represent Eurostar’s plans and ambitions. I personally think of it as a sad and poor attempt to hide that the company doesn’t know how to renew itself before the competition, such as Deutsch Bahn, starts running trains in the tunnel too.
The wave isn’t actually something new. The old logo was already showing three waves. Three waves representing the three destinations that are Paris, London and Brussels, and the three countries that are France, the UK and Belgium. Now, we only have one wave. People at Eurostar will probably tell you that it symbolises that Eurostar – after 16 long years during which it belonged to the three countries’ national rail services – is now an independent business, a private company, with only one head, one boss, and one headquarters. But, did people actually know that? And do people actually even care about it?
If I didn’t know anything about Eurostar – which certainly isn’t the case, since I worked there for six long years myself – I would certainly look at the new logo and think that it is related to something like ferries or cruises. Something related to the sea, really. That’s my opinion. You, readers, might come with other ideas too… I would maybe even relate it, or rather confuse it, with the E.ON logo (the UK power and gas company – www.eon-uk.com).
What Was The Point, Again?
What the people behind the actual logo – a London design company called SomeOne (www.someoneinlondon.com) – say is that “trains speed through the tunnel leaving a wash of air in their wake,” they “wanted to capture this speed as it darted through a loop that represents the tunnel…” Hum… Whatever, really! Even my four-year-old daughter would look at it and come up with any kind of ideas on what it means, like “Daddy, this is a round form like a “e” and this is a wave. The round form represents the world. The “e” is because it’s the letter that I learnt at school today and the one that is on your computer desktop when you go use the Internet (meaning Internet Explorer). And the wave is because it’s like at the beach where there is the sand and the sea.” Well, I don’t know about you, but to me, that would be a good enough explanation of what the new Eurostar logo could be! Besides, she would certainly come up with something more creative than what SomeOne did. And I’m honestly not saying that only because I’m her very proud father! Not at all!
What Did Eurostar Think Of It?
SomeOne says on its website “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!” So, they liked it, right? I mean, if you pay a great deal of money – I’m talking a LOT of money – to a design company to create a new logo for your big company, whatever they will show you in the end, you will have to applaud. Otherwise, it would mean you chose the wrong guys, who didn’t get anything about your company, and you end up with a big hole in your budget and a big headache!
So, of course, Eurostar loved it. “SomeOne have not just re-branded our organisation, they have created a work of art that we are simply delighted to call our own” even said Sarah Sempala-Ntege, the Head of Brand & Design at Eurostar. Wow! Impressive! Really impressive! And did all the big managers at Eurostar jump in the air, happily ever after, and think “I’ll get my bonus this year! I’ll get my bonus this year!”?
A new identity?
What else does Eurostar say on the internet about the new logo? “This new branding will be rolled out gradually over the coming weeks and months. You will first see the change on our website and on your tickets – then you will start to notice the new logo in our stations and on our trains.”
Right. What Eurostar tell us sounds like the company has planned the whole thing a long time ago, they have a strategy, and they are going to achieve what they have planned within a specific timescale. The truth is, as always with Eurostar, the theory has got nothing to do with the practice!
The new branding is as slow and amateur as can be. At the London St Pancras Terminal, for instance, the old logo is being covered by stickers with the new one. The stickers are so amateurish that one can quite easily see the old logo through them.
Another thing, if you plan to launch a new logo, wouldn’t it be better to do it properly, that is, rebranding the whole fleet, all the Terminals, the staff badges, the check-in gates, the computers, the Terminal screens, etc, – every single details, in fact – overnight? You know, to produce a seamless experience for the passengers, instead of confusing them with two logos seen here and there. I may be wrong…
People have spoken
All right. Let’s stop talking and let’s see what people really think about the logo. Sources within Eurostar told me that most of the company’s employees in London don’t like it and don’t understand how the company dared spending millions of pounds in a new logo that looks so hideous. Some even feel ashamed of it. Careful: “most employees” doesn’t mean ALL employees! Whoever is a manager, or whoever wants to grow in the company one day, will tell you that they love it, of course. Well, some people love Kaddafi in Libya… does it mean he’s a good leader?
Now, what is certainly more important than anything is the opinion of the passengers. And as far as one can see on the internet… (drums) … well, a majority of them hate the new logo! On the Eurostar’s official Facebook page, anyone can read their opinion. And it’s worth reading! Here’s a little best-of:
- William Norris: “Looks cheap. The old logo still looks more contemporary.”
- Annette Edgar: “but as with all rebranding.. it costs money which could be better spent elsewhere.”
- Robbie Bremner: “Are you serious? It looks horrible. April fools was 4 days ago?”
- Maud Lambert: “I preferred the old one: its yellow colour gave a side “more funny””
On another Eurostar Facebook page, “The Cream of London by Eurostar”, you can read similar opinions when they are being asked “Do you like the new logo?”Best-of:
- Jens Simoens: “Not really”
- Kalina Lipinska: “nope”
- Frédéric Freud Filée: “not really too”
- Leo Ren: “Nice, but the typography is too static to go with the flow of the e. Try a more fluent font to put eurostar in a more harmonious way with the logo.”
- Stuto Lillo: “don’t like…”
- Tanya Tanoush: “don’t like! prefer the other,the ”old” one!”
- Julia Kolbeek: “looks like a wedding ring to me, I’m not sure I can take on another husband…”
- Nick Van Den Brulle: “I’m not a fan. I prefer the old one, a colourful look above the cold iron one. That’s more stylish and British. It gives a cold and impersonal touch.”
- Dominique Massinon: “Beuuuuurk ! No, NO, No !”
- Aurélie Vigneron: “I don’t like… It reminds me of a logo for a brand new car. I find it cold and impersonal. For me, it does not match the image that is supposed to convey “Eurostar”.”
You can read all these comments – these are chosen ones, some people also like the logo, but not many! – and much more online, atwww.facebook.com/eurostar andwww.facebook.com/thecreamoflondonbyeurostar. They’re available to read on the two Eurostar Facebook pages for as long as the administrator of the pages (like on any other Facebook page on the Internet) doesn’t delete them!
Now, what an administrator cannot delete is the opinion of people on Twitter. People, there, are free to say what they want. And according to what they say, they don’t want the new logo! Best-of (from Google Realtime search for“Eurostar logo”):
- yidtech: “The @Eurostar logo has gone from something that was perfectly reasonable (if a bit tired) to something vulgar and somehow disgusting.”
- yidtech: “Does the new @Eurostar logo remind anyone else of Pinocchio, or is it just me? There’s something sort of icky about it, isn’t there?”
- hiLinc: “Wow. The new eurostar logo is worse than the last one. Quite an achievement.”
- aperfect: “The new Eurostar logo looks like Internet Explorer got jiggy with some chrome plating.”
- MindspikeDesign: “Eurostar’s logo: It’s not just a 2-D mark, but rather a full-on 3-D sculpture. It’s kinda hideous & overwrought, right?”
- remyvhw: “Awful new logo for the Eurostar…. Might cause transportation sickness”
- tonymoorey: “Eurostar’s new tongue-like logo”
- Frontera2: “Think the new Eurostar logo is awful!”
- zbyshka: “New Eurostar logo? ARGH, change! Don’t like!”
- transportb: “Not sure about new Eurostar logo. Wondering if we’ll see it on a train today.”
- ThisIsEnzo: “I don’t really get it… I don’t think what they’re trying to get across is clear enough in the design!”
Buzz or Zubb?
If the purpose of Eurostar was to create a buzz with the strangest logo possible, one can only accept that they succeeded! The company has spent a lot of money to get a logo that people talk about on the Internet. It makes them talk about the brand. It makes journalists, like me, write about it. That’s definitely a big buzz!
However, the question now is: can this big buzz actually change people’s opinion about the company and make them forget what Eurostar is really like, behind all the smoke created by the logo story? Will people keep travelling in a Eurostar train when Deutsch Bahn will run its services, because they like the company’s new logo? Will people, because of its new logo, forget that during winters 2008 and 2009, Eurostar was internationally shamed when its trains failed, because they weren’t prepared for snow? I sincerely doubt it.
They say “you can’t judge a book by its cover.” Should we judge Eurostar by its logo, then?
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