New Luton Rebrand Has Challenges To Overcome

92809fc6305bee960e6f2c0c70a88cd9

Some of you may have spotted London Luton’s rebrand announced last month. London’s second smallest commercial airport is famous for it’s low cost network and leisure routes served by charter airlines. Situated outside of London its often had to deal with a negative mindset of its travellers. Its personally our least favourite airport of all 5 London airports, due to its difficult access, and myriad of dark and uninspiring gates, as well as predictably ridiculously early morning departures.

4f87f519fd9bdf28bf89a2b969b8127a

The new brand image, designed by Ico Design and new typeface from Atipo would on the surface inject colour and inspiration into the environment, offering a family friendly environment, which would suit the demographic that frequents the airport. However, it’s not as clear cut as it seems in our opinion.

1d7f02c49f2753137f8ec438088e2c76

Whilst the visuals show beautiful light corridors, with large typography and bright bold coloured signs aiming to help guide passengers around the airport. However, this less conventional approach seems to have its drawbacks, and seems a little unconsidered. This new look is going to be increasingly diluted. Why so? Well, as far as we can remember, we’ve never received any airport stationery when travelling through, never seen an airport business card, or letterhead, and infact, very rarely seen an airport logo apart from on an airport website.

Frankly, when was the last time you looked at an airport website? Most travellers now book direct with an airline, the only real interaction with the airport, is the traveller journey, which comprises check in, (notoriously features the airline colours or logos), and then a bland security channel, followed by a myriad of shops, each with their own brand, and then an airport gate, where we sit and relax.

933fe1da02bd6479c49c230b8f843fe0

Here’s another problem with Luton, or LLA’s new brand. These beautiful images of large gate signs, would work perfectly in a standardised airport environment, but if you have a look at Luton from above, you’ll notice, it’s a mismatched jigsaw of buildings, all with different height ceilings, corridors, dark corners and confusing gates, where seating is very much limited due to the boarding process of most airlines that use it. Whilst most gates could support this new graphical treatment, what about the low cost gates, that are just long lines in a waiting area usually crammed to the gills with low cost passengers vying to get on the plane first to lay claim to their personal space (see below).

4-new-terminal

As such, these large wall graphics will be either obstructed by passengers, or confusing due to their placements. Infact, the only real branding will be seen as these gate signs, as most will see nothing else apart from a few images of destinations and coloured walls.

371d36aca35ad8b8fe082f5f3c90eb41

Don’t get us wrong, we love the fact the branding agency has added colour to the space, and really tried to bring some life to this jigsaw of an airport, but this branding, whilst looking great on paper, needs to work very hard to translate to an enjoyable passenger experience.

7e97608a2c2ce46cb3d743463b0fd08f

As proof in point, this icon set, which looks great when all sat together makes visual sense, however, we ask you to look at an individual icon, maybe one of the more obscure ones, and ask, what does the sign actually mean. The point of iconography, especially in an environment that has moving, stressed and international viewers, is to create and easy to identify message in all languages, and as such, as an exercise, ask you to recite what each of these icons below means within 5-10 seconds.

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 18.36.37

There is scope for this new brand, however, it needs to go beyond a pop up stand, some branded stationery and a few coloured walls. It needs to address the problems of the airport experience, which is unique to each airport, based upon the demographic of the passengers it attracts.

subscriptionbanner

4 comments

  1. brentito86

    As a frequent traveler, I know (at least I’m pretty sure) what the icons mean. For the casual traveler though…I’m not sure they will get all of the icons. Some are definitely easier to understand than others.

  2. For the test group I read: fast lane, quiet reading area, food and drink, restrooms, and the weather is normal at Luton, raining buckets.`

  3. Brent

    As a frequent traveler, I know (at least I’m pretty sure) what the icons mean. For the casual traveler though…I’m not sure they will get all of the icons. Some are definitely easier to understand than others.

    For the test group I read: fast lane, waiting area, restaurants, restrooms, and either luggage storage (which doesnt make sense) or place your items here (security line sign)

  4. John Hancock

    The problem here isn’t the branding agency, but the airport. There have been cases of either or both entities in these deals forgetting issues or letting basic details fall through the cracks.

    I can’t say with total certainty, but I’d almost say the layout and ugly aspects of the airport are indeed problems gone unfixed by the airport’s administration. It’s their fault for not executing the implementation of the new brand in a timely and progressive manner.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: