Strait Shipping Ltd
Bluebridge has always been the ‘underdog’ in the inter-island ferry market. Started as a freight company to challenge a well-established government-backed competitor, they have often punched above their weight — in particular with their passenger offering. However their brand and marketing material was trying to emulate the competition — rather reflect what was special about their own business.
With our help, Bluebridge decided to change tack and fully embrace the more ‘gritty’ and ‘honest’ characteristics of their brand — hospitality, friendliness, creativity, humour and a down-to-earth Kiwi-ness would become the brand’s defining qualities. The more personal and approachable visual signature was carried across all the brand’s marketing collateral and environmental graphics — including the website.
For Bluebridge customers, booking travel obviously needed to be the focus. The site was not responsive, making it terrible for 80% of those who book online while travelling. However, it was the existing infrastructure which posed a major usability problem — it was a freight-focussed 3rd party system that had to remain.
Our solution was to create an ever-present mobile-first booking widget, which hands-off to the 3rd party system at the last possible moment. The rest of the site is designed from the booking widget ‘out’, with all the supporting information and marketing material focused on encouraging booking.
Tap-friendly buttons, easy-to-read date pickers, and progressive reveal are designed to take the stress out of booking “while driving”. The entire form is presented in one screen that first asks your direction of travel and clearly illustrates it. This deals to the number one call centre issue from foreign travellers who aren’t familiar with “North/South” or “Wellington/Picton”.
Having made their way through a customer-centric booking process, the details need to be transferred to the “operational” 3rd party system. To help reduce this jarring effect of this hand-over we created a deliberate, almost apologetic, pause to indicate this change in experience.
Although the website is created around the booking widget, the rest of the “brochureware” content respects the brand’s design direction. The visual design is the perfect balance of the clear informational wayfinding installed throughout the Bluebridge terminals and vessels and the bespoke, personality-rich hand drawn marketing typography.
It’s the completion of a long-running project that has not only unified Bluebridge’s marketing; it has redefined their voice.