partners in design
Following the acquisitions of bus & bus component manufacturers Daf Bus, Berkhof, Bova, Jonkheere and Kusters in the recent past, the Van der Leegte Groep in Eindhoven initiated a strategic project in order to merge these companies under the umbrella of a new division called VDL Bus & Coach.
This new business strategy prompted VDL Bus & Coach to look for a design partner that was capable of translating the vision associated with the new bus brand into tangible results. Together with Vanderveer Designers, a plan was drawn up in order to develop a design language and an appealing brand identity. A long-standing collaboration with DAF Trucks made Vanderveer Designers the right strategic partner for bringing this task to a successful completion. With input from the different subdivisions of VDL Bus & Coach, Van der Veer Designers succeeded in setting out an easily recognisable and distinctive line for a new generation of coaches and public transport buses in an impressively short period of time.
VDL Group headquarters
a new brand identity for a premium brand
As we were developing the new VDL Bus & Coach brand identity, we asked ourselves how we could create a visual style that would be representative of top-class, international products.
A brand identity that would reflect the strength of an established company and make a recognisable and professional visual statement. But also a brand identity that would be both distinctive and dynamic and appropriate to an industry that constantly adapts to new challenges. The basic guidelines these questions identified set out the direction and line for the total design process. Easy long-distance recognition was important (i.e. when the bus drives towards you on the motorway) and the logo had to create an impression of high quality when viewed from close by. In addition, the basic guidelines for a coach differ from those for a public transport bus. The final result is a new brand identity that forms a consistent and recognisable element in the complete product family and encompasses all the “brand touchpoints” of VDL Bus & Coach.
new VDL Bus & Coach logo
design language for a new generation of coaches buses
Easy visual recognition of brands and products is a key competitive factor in the current economy in general, and particularly so in the transportation industry. Consequently, we have developed a styling language that expresses the brand promises of VDL Bus & Coach: Dynamism, Efficiency and Quality transformed into tangible products.
For a new player like VDL Bus & Coach, it was very important to claim a high level of quality from the start. "You never get a second chance to make a first impression”. The ideal ambassador for the new design language is the company's flagship product, the Futura FHD. A great deal of attention was focused on both the aesthetic and functional properties of the new bus during development. For example, the design has positively affected the bus’s aerodynamic qualities, resulting in lower fuel consumption. The rounded front features optimally curved angles and the roof merges into a spoiler at the rear in order to create extra length. The sharp turn-under below the rear window keeps the glass clean in use. The lines used for VDL’s design language emphasise the streamlined shape and create a recognisable, dynamic appearance. The light units play a key role here. The addition of Daytime Running Lights (DRL) and a distinctively dynamic contour give the headlamp an entirely contemporary character. The new VDL Bus & Coach brand logo is proudly displayed in a prominent central position on the front and rear. Functional items (towing eyes, towing hook, connectors) are grouped in the grey diffuser-like surfaces at the underside of the front and rear.
The new design language is consistently used for the complete product family. This has two advantages: consistent application increases the ease of brand recognition and helps to distinguish the brand and its products from competitors. Many of the styling elements of the Futura are therefore echoed by the new Citea. The smaller brand logo and stylish headlights and rear lights create a businesslike, differentiated appearance without diluting the underlying VDL brand identity. When we talk about the Citea, we are actually talking about 3 buses that differ quite significantly from each other. That the 3 Citeas are clearly identifiable as part of a single product family simply illustrates how strong an impact consistent design language can have.
early exploratory sketch
futura sketch front
3d cad surface modelling front
3d cad surface modelling rear
futura 3d cad renderings
consistent design language across a product family
The new design language is consistently used for the complete product family. This has two advantages: consistent application increases the ease of brand recognition and helps to distinguish the brand and its products from competitors.
Many of the styling elements of the Futura are therefore echoed by the new Citea. The smaller brand logo and stylish headlights and rear lights create a businesslike, differentiated appearance without diluting the underlying VDL brand identity. When we talk about the Citea, we are actually talking about 3 buses that differ quite significantly from each other. That the 3 Citeas are clearly identifiable as part of a single product family simply illustrates how strong an impact consistent design language can have.
an unbeatable start for a new brand.
The new strategy, the new brand identity, the Futura coach and Citea public transport buses were introduced at the IAA exhibition in Hannover during September 2010.
When the Citea was awarded the title of ‘Bus of the Year 2011’ we had good reason to celebrate. That and the fact that the Futura has continued this success by being nominated ‘Coach of the Year 2012’ are simply a dream come true. The new VDL brand has made an unbeatable start.
impression VDL stand IAA 2010
bus and coach of the year
VDL Bus & Coach at IAA 2010
ambitions for the future
Van der Veer Designers and VDL Bus& Coach have now developed a stable development relationship and continue to collaborate in achieving the ambition of VDL Bus & Coach: “a permanent position in the bus and coach manufacturer top three”.