INS samples the high life

Interbrand Newell and Sorrell have been set the task of designing an identity system for The London Eye – a giant British Airways-sponsored observation wheel currently being built on the capital’s South Bank – with a brief to communicate the height and sp

When commissioned to produce an identity system for the British Airways-sponsored London Eye, being built on the capital’s South Bank, Interbrand Newell and Sorrell was briefed to find a creative way to communicate the height and spectacle of the structure.

The observation wheel – not, the sponsors point out, a giant Ferris wheel – will actually be 30 per cent taller than the nearby landmark Shell Building, and will afford unprecedented views of London. ‘We wanted a design which would capture the drama of the structure itself,’ says BA project director Paul Baxter. ‘Part of the brief is also to make sure it [the identity] generates excitement.’

There is already a buzz at the wheel’s site. Concrete foundations have been poured, and the first metal components were delivered as Design Week went to press. The wheel, which will have a capacity to take 900 people, will be constructed on its side and then raised into position, guaranteeing one of the most impressive erections ever seen in London.

INS creative director Chris Lightfoot says it was decided early on that the wheel had to be seen as a ‘must do’ rather than a ‘must see’ attraction. ‘Not many people have the chance to get really, really high above London,’ he says. Hence the emphasis placed in the identity on the experience and views. The visual perspective from the wheel has become the overriding theme.

The group was also called upon to portray a visit to the wheel as a leisure experience without being too laid back, as the identity bears the logo of BA which needs to retain a professional image – travellers aren’t keen on flying in aircraft staffed by people who are too relaxed.

The identity system will be used in all literature and advertising for the wheel, and may be applied to the souvenir merchandise which will be developed in time for the millennium.

Design: Interbrand Newell and Sorrell

Creative director: Chris Lightfoot

Client: British Airways

Project director: Paul Baxter

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