Thursday 17 August 2006

The Station WIth No Name

The Battersea prototype for Shell's new design, RVI 2, shows several key adaptations, revealing an updated image for Shell. Most significantly, the Shell name does not now appear on the canopy - the identity relies solely on the symbol. This is clearly driven by two factors - its non-English speaking markets and the fact that the Shell symbol is so well recognised that, arguably, it shouts louder when it speaks for itself.

In this, says David Davis, lead creative behind RVI 1 and Head of Energy Sector at Minale Tattersfield and Partners, it is following a similar philosophy to the BP Helios sun. Oil companies are following the trend in softening their images, playing down global domination and 'big brother' associations and recognising customer and shareholder concerns with the environment and social ethics.

The design complements this approach with a much greater use of white - giving a cleaner, crisper look. But as Davis notes, ˜The white brings out the Shell colours of red and yellow in a fresh and modern way but will suffer from maintenance issues over time. Today's cities have real problems with airborne pollution and keeping the white clean will be a challenge.

The new design also departs from the 'S' shape canopy in favour of a more traditional, back-illuminated acrylic fascia. The RVI1 was recently re-engineered to accept LEDs which are a low energy, low maintenance product, says Davis, so in this respect, it feels like a move backwards that this design relies on flourescent tubes as a light source."

Other cost-saving experiments include non-illuminated spreaders and the Select shop being dropped in favour of a regular Shell shop. Davis believes that dropping the Select brand flies in the face of industry best practice which aims to differentiate the food offer from the fuel offer. It will be interesting to watch its progress.

Shell are also experimenting with a tended serve at certain periods only - a practice which hasn't been seen in the UK for years and which, again, will be monitored with great interest.

© Copyright by Minale Tattersfield Design Strategy

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