Eurostar has started the deployment of a new visual identity, due to be rolled out across all products including, obviously, the trains.
Apart from moving to a more emotional and modern identity, the objective of the new branding is to position Eurostar as a European train service leader, not just limited to crossing the English Channel.
The deployment is to be completed by 5 April 2011, also with the roll-out of a new website.
The new website is announced to be 20% faster and easier to use, in particular when building multi-segment itineraries beyond the basic London-Paris-Brussels routes.
In a parallel move to airlines, Eurostar will also release new mobile apps including mobile check-in using mobile boarding passes with 2D Aztech codes.
Up until now, the print-at-home PDF boarding passes could technically be displayed on a mobile device and used to go through gates, but it was still mandatory to carry a printed paper copy.
Needless to say, the design community is quite critical about the new logo and branding.
The new logo is designed as a dynamic 3D sculpture of a lowercase "e", available under different perspectives and even textures like iron, gold, wood or marble.
It's supposed to represent a fast train passing through a tunnel, which some are seeing as a cartoonish tongue and mouth, and other less innocent metaphores. To others, it reminds them of Internet Explorer with a touch of Coca-Cola!
The main concern is that a 3D sculpture, once flattened down on print, posters and indoor surfaces, loses most of its appeal and creates undue complexity with shading effects.
There is a good dose of personal taste going into branding and design, and I personally like the sense of solidity of the new brand.
Maybe it's just because I ride on Eurostar weekly, and I need it to remain very solid.