Vox Pop

Poulter Partners has created a British train identity for Midland Mainline with a European look. What do you think constitutes a European look and is it a useful distinction?

‘I am not sure what they mean by a European look. Does it mean European including England in the way maybe an American might describe it and really an English person should too? Or are they talking about a continental European look? It might make more sense to aim for contemporary, innovative and functional design rather then a look with ambiguous origin.’

Gitta Gschwendtner, Independent 3D designer

‘It’s not just the look, but also the substance, the taste and flavour; and a case (again) of Burton-upon-Trent leading the world in manufacturing good taste.’

Innes Ferguson, Head of design, Transport for London

‘Japan and the US can detect a European design look as they’re far enough away to get a clear perspective. We Europeans see more differences than similarities. Seen from a distance, there is a European look – paradoxically, one of it’s determining characteristics is its diversity.’

Wally Olins, Chairman, Saffron Brand Consultants

‘There are only two reasons why someone would claim to have created a European look – Euros and cents. What does “European” entitle visually more than a godforsaken flag – bland, homogenised, lots of colours? Why can’t people focus on creating modern well crafted design that sells?’

Erik Torstensson, Creative director, Saturday

‘Is it when you can’t tell the difference between Brit and Romanian, Swede and Italian, German and Greek? If there is, indeed, any intention to express justly European character it is certainly the greatest illusion of all to expect fancy typefaces and cool colours will do the job. Being European lies in behaviour, attitude and values. As per anything to do with British railways – you know the one with gorilla and the lipstick?’

Sasha Vidakovic, Creative director, Landor Associates Milan

‘The Euro is a good example of a European look. Embraced by some, shunned by others, straight out of Brussels and with schizophrenic tendencies, it adapts to 12 participating countries. We tend to drop the ambiguity of “European design” and stick to the trusty universal terms of “good, bad or plain ugly”.’

Mark Chalmers, Creative director, Blueberryfrog

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