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Meet the team: Andy Giles


Graphic designer Andy Giles talks candidly about being faced with the monumental challenge of updating the iconic livery designs for P&O Cruises ships

Andy Giles, Graphic Designer
It’s a bold step to change a much-loved livery design. What was the thinking behind this decision?

It’s definitely a bold step, but it was also a chance for us to stand out. We did a lot of research before starting the project and found that our branding was weak compared to that of some of our competitors – Britannia gave us the opportunity to change that. We wanted to create an identity that would show the world who we are – something with a stronger visual identity.

How did you feel about creating something with such iconic potential?

It’s a designer’s dream to be able to work on a high-profile project – and it doesn’t get much bigger than creating a new livery for such an iconic brand as P&O Cruises. There were obviously highs and lows, lots of research and certainly many hours’ fine tuning, but the whole experience was so rewarding and satisfying.

What was your original design brief? How did it evolve?

It began with lots of experimenting: I was asked to try applying different colours to the hull on P&O Cruises new ship Britannia, and to think about whether we wanted a motif or some kind of branding to be featured. I was given free-reign really, so I began by dividing the hull into sections and applying different shapes and patterns. After presenting my ideas to the board, we discarded the coloured hull options as it felt like too much of a step away from P&O Cruises’ identity and I started looking more into motifs we could use. I knew I’d hit on the right idea pretty quickly – especially when you think of the ship’s name and what P&O Cruises stands for – and soon enough, it started to come together and feel like something P&O Cruises could own.

What inspired your thinking?

I read books on P&O Cruises, looked at some old photography and reconsidered our logo. Also, our brand team did a lot of focus groups, and from them the theme of Britishness came through very strongly.

Did you consult with the crew and guests at all?

Absolutely. As soon as we arrived at a concept we all agreed on, we carried out research groups with a mixture of past guests, new cruisers and competitors’ cruisers. It felt strange listening to people talking about my work, but most of the responses were positive and people were relating to P&O Cruises and the Britishness of the brand, which was the most important thing for us. We also talked to the captains and their response was mostly positive, too. There was a sense of excitement and the feeling that this new design would start to raise our visibility.

How did you feel seeing Britannia coming into Southampton for the first time?

I felt very proud and grateful for the opportunity. Although I designed the livery, there have been so many people involved in the project and I’m very appreciative of the help I’ve had. Seeing Britannia for the first time was a very exciting moment: I stood with Gerard Tempest, the Chief Commercial Officer for P&O Cruises, and he shook my hand and said ‘well done’, which brought a lump to my throat. Now the livery is being rolled out across the fleet and all the ships look great, but I think Britannia will always be my favourite. She’s where it all started.

P&O Cruises new ship Britannia displaying the new livery