Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Barbed Comments

Not everyone appreciates First’s corporate bus livery. Over the years, there’ve been some decidedly barbed comments about the so-called ‘Barbie’ livery. Hideous. Insipid. Bland. Ugly. These are all words you can find on the internet to describe First’s corporate colours. Are they fair comments?

What’s more important is whether said livery is fit for purpose.

The combination of mostly white with dark blue and pink was deliberate, of course, to woo the female customer. Let’s face it, between 60 and 70 per cent of passengers are women. Along with the pastel peppermints, topaz and lilacs of new First bus interiors, anecdotal evidence would suggest the concept has worked. We trust that the only thing you can say about the following comment is that it’s an exaggeration and not offensive, but if you ask a women to describe her car, the first thing she might say is its colour. Men may become technical. Colour choice is therefore highly important to the most significant slice of bus users.

So far as we recall, Barbie 1 “Willowleaf” began to appear only on super low floor stock. There soon followed Barbie 2 on all other buses, with its curious pink gradient vinyl that faded out just below window level, something no doubt difficult to mend in the event of a scrape. Then regardless of accessibility, everything went Barbie 3, which was actually Barbie 1.

The livery that really scores, though, is First’s coach version, applied to everything from station links and long distance routes to local express or long-distance vehicles. We'll call it 'Barbie 4'. It’s best on a coach but this livery has much to commend it when seen on a single deck. Surely even those who dislike the use of delicate colours on a vehicle will find the single incidental fade-out pink stripe acts as a counterpart to the broader area of ‘Midland General’ or ‘East Yorkshire’ blue.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Always a difficult one this - it is important to woo the female passenger/non-passenger but the pastel shades used are often hard to keep clean (inside and out - just see the ftr interior now!).

Also access for buggies is very important to women too and many bus operators are starting to make that harder (despite the advantages of low floor) - just see Blazefield's "buggies aboard" leaflet which shows which types of buggies are 'allowed' and which are not, but the no and yes images are too similar to make out the difference - how confusing is that for a Mum with a buggy! Sod it, I'll use the car then...