During my studies at New College Durham, for my BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma Graphic Design qualification, one of the eighteen units that was covered over the course of the second year was Unit 6, titled "Final Major Project". Within this unit, we could decided on whatever we wanted to focus on ready for an exhibition that was to be held at the end of the academic year.
Because of my passion for 3D design, I opted to produce a series of models based on rebranded versions of existing bus liveries from Arriva North East, which went alongside a corporate banner design; the banner outlined the complete branding guidelines for the logo, colour scheme and an example drawing of a vehicle for each livery. Within the North East, Arriva hosts four different promotional identities: "MAX", "Sapphire", "Frequenta" and "Eco Green". My aim was to completely revitalise the image of these into something that would appear more visually-appealing to the users of the operator.
Arriva: a rebrand of the UK's biggest bus operator
Arriva is a bus company that expands all over Europe — the headquarters being located in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom. With over 55,000 employees (2018), as well as a €4.84 billion (December 2015) revenue, Arriva is one of the biggest bus operators in the world, and sustains the title as the biggest bus operator in the United Kingdom – ahead of Stagecoach, the Go-Ahead Group and National Express. In addition to bus travel, which the company is renowned for, they operate trams, trains, coaches and waterbus services in 14 countries across Europe.
Sapphire (rebrand concept: "Majestic")
Sapphire: Arriva announced the launch of its premium "Sapphire" brand in February 2013, after which four pilot routes across the operator's divisions were upgraded: Arriva Buses Wales' service 1 (Wrexham to Chester), Arriva Midlands' services 31/31A (Oadby to Leicester), Arriva North East's service 7 (Darlington to Durham), and Arriva Shires and Essex's service 280 (Aylesbury to Oxford).
The brand's rationale was to give existing customers the impression that they were travelling in first-class style, whilst encouraging new customers to travel using the bus and leave the car at home. All of the vehicles under the "Sapphire" brand were fitted with high spec features, including: free customer WiFi, for surfing the web whilst on the move; luxury e-leather seating, providing extra comfort throughout the journey; plug sockets and USB charging ports to power mobile devices; and audio-visual next stop announcements to benefit those of a hard of hearing nature, with sight impairments, or who weren't familiar with the stops along the route.
In 2017, "Sapphire" was given a design refresh to coincide with Arriva's rebrand. This saw the loss of the 'making your everyday journey sparkle' slogan, and a new two-tone base colour that would match the house style of the standard fleet livery: two swoops ('steeper' than those on the original version) separating the two-tone colours: one in grey and the other in white. The rebrand also saw consistency for the features involved on the services, now applied to the front window on each side of the vehicles and pictured in a blue rounded legend enclosed with a slogan reading 'Get on board!'. Other promotional material is typically placed towards the back of the vehicle, such as the fares or frequency for a particular service or group of services.
Majestic: "Majestic" is a new, reinvented brand which expands on Arriva's current premium brand, "Sapphire" — launched in 2013. For a small fare, passengers are given the ultimate experience of luxury and extravagance for the duration of their journey on board the bus. Whilst relaxing in newly refurbished leather seating — with extra layers of padding — passengers can enjoy complimentary features on board every "Majestic" branded vehicle, including the following:
• Free, 4G-speed WiFi without the data usage limit currently applied to WiFi-enabled buses
• Heated seats from the simple press of a button
• Next-stop announcement screens on the back of each seat
• Softer lighting for night time services
• Air filtration for improved quality
MAX (rebrand concept: "eXpress")
MAX: Arriva unveiled the "MAX" brand in September 2014, in a bid to promote its interurban express service across the region. Preserving the high spec features used with the "Sapphire" brand, "MAX" was seen to ensure customers would be travelling on fast services in style.
Frequenta (rebrand concept: "Frequalink")
Frequenta: a local brand for the Darlington area, "Frequenta" was introduced in 2015 to offer a 'turn up and go' alternative to the standard timetable, with some services operating up to every 5 minutes. It was expanded throughout the north east region, with further services running into Durham and Teesside. Like "MAX", "Frequenta" officially became defunct following the company's 2017 rebrand.
Eco Green (rebrand concept: "Eco Network")