DesignStudio sheds light on Eurostar “north star” rebrand

The brand will feature a new graphic device called the Spark, which animates to guide travellers through their destinations.

DesignStudio has rebranded Eurostar following its merger with French-Belgian high-speed train operator Thalys, with a new bespoke wordmark, icon and graphic spark device.

Following its initial integration in May 2022, Eurostar and Thalys will become a single consumer brand by the end of 2023. The brief for the project detailed that the identity must “respect the heritage of both brands” and help them to achieve their goal of carrying 30 million passengers a year, according to DesignStudio.

According to DesignStudio’s creative director Julien Queyrane, one of the most important considerations was ensuring the new Eurostar Group brand “captured the DNA of both Eurostar and Thalys”. Following workshops with both of the brands’ stakeholders to better understand their near 30-year heritage, DesignStudio were able to decide “what needed to remain, and what could evolve for the future”, he says.

While the merger will see Eurostar retain its name, its wordmark and symbol have been completely overhauled, bringing back the star symbol to the brand, which was dropped in 2011 following a rebrand by Someone studio. DesignStudio design director David Maloney says the brand’s “visual shorthand” symbol combines the Eurostar E and a six-pointed star together, appearing as part of the whole lockup on the train livery and website header, as well as in isolation across Eurostar communications.

The use of lowercase italic letter forms in the new bespoke wordmark harks back to the original 1994 version, according to DesignStudio, which collaborated with art director and designer Leo Field and typeface designer Luke Prowse.

A brand-new graphic device called The Spark was created by DesignStudio, which Maloney describes as “the literal and metaphorical north star” of the brand. It is present in the brands motion graphics – “rotating, extruding and dropping into locations” – and was designed to navigate travellers through the brand experience and their destination, from the website and apps to social media.

Queyrane says: “The old Eurostar identity was 3D but it couldn’t be applied digitally because it had been flattened. Therefore, modernising the brand to create impact across digital platforms was a crucial part of the brief.”

DesignStudio partnered with seven illustrators for the project: Jean Leblanc, Avalon Nuovo, Jordan Robertson, Alice Des, Fagostudio, Vanessa Van Meerhaeghe and Matt Saunders.

The seven creatives work across Eurostar Group’s five member countries: UK, France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. The suite of illustrations seeks to “capture the unique feeling and energy of each destination”, Maloney explains.

The theme of discovery is explored through Eurostar’s new photography, which was art directed by DesignStudio alongside photographer John Adrian.

A new colourway has been introduced, led by a primary colour palette which comprises “a punchy blue and deep navy”, says Design Studio. It is supported by six secondary colours inspired by the diversity of Europe, including a red and dark red “inspired by Thalys”, says Queyrane.

DesignStudio opted for La Pontaise – a typeface with high contrast characters – to give the brand “a distinct elegant feel”. The supporting typeface, ABC social, is a smooth sans serif body font with subtle similarities to La Pontaise.

The identity has been incorporated into the interior of Eurostar’s premium lounge

Eurostar’s new identity will roll out across all physical and digital assets at the end of 2023.

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