A lot has changed about the way we travel since agencies like First Choice were the go-to. Holidays are now in our hands, and with that comes flexibility. However, as highlighted by Ragged Edge, which has led the new strategy and identity for First Choice, this means booking “eight things across eight sites, and none of them are responsible if anything goes wrong”.
The brand strategy reframes the benefits of travel agencies, partly in a bid to appeal to younger customers, who have likely never had the experience of walking into a high street travel agency and coming out with an package holiday planned for the following year.
While we’re reminded of long-standing selling points like travel protection, the new positioning taps into a very contemporary issue – decision paralysis. The identity invites people to be “proudly picky” about their holidays without the headache of cross-comparing options and flicking between endless tabs.
This comes through in the new characterful icons, which almost resemble a coat of arms when arranged together in smaller clusters. The main icons seen on the logo symbolise different holiday options available to people – city, coast, poolside or countryside – dispelling the idea of travel operators being rigid or predictable in their offering. These appear across other touchpoints, from the digital experience to communications, along with a wider suite of symbols that further illustrate choice and flexibility.
Ragged Edge also developed a new photography style for the brand. “The photography is shot from the point of view of the holidaymaker. We wanted to capture the realism of places and people, but with just enough intention to draw you in and make you want to see for yourself,” Ragged Edge co-founder Max Ottignon tells us. “So instead of having a single photographer curating the brand photography, we’ve sourced images from a whole range of different travellers.
It’s aspirational, yet it’s also designed to feel “warm” and “imperfect” according to the agency. The same can be said for the typeface – a version of Pastiche Grotesque customised with the help of Order Type Foundry – which is playfully uneven. It’s a good match for the new verbal identity that embodies a friendly persona.
While it’s clear the new identity is geared towards younger generations more than before, the agency didn’t want to alienate other customers. “We aimed to find a mindset that both new and existing customers shared. Speaking to a range of different holidaymakers, that sense of choice paralysis seemed to be common amongst all demographics, and so the brand strategy – empowering people to be proudly picky – felt like it had a fairly universal relevance,” Ottignon says. “Ultimately, this brand is about picking the right choice for you, whoever you are, and whatever your preferences.”