Meet Christian, the creative mastermind behind the Originals guide kit and get a sneak peek into the origin of the GetYourGuide branding.
Christian, tell us what you do at GetYourGuide?
I am a Brand Design Lead in the Creative Studio, which is a team working on anything that relates to the GetYourGuide brand. We bring the brand to life, giving it its own look and feel. We create the language, the photography and the videography so that it resonates with our customers, but also our team and our incredible guides. The team spends a lot of its time working on Originals, but also on different campaigns, display advertisements, social media channels and videos.
Can you mention a few projects that your team has worked on for Originals?
The guide kit was the big, exciting one right at the beginning of the launch of Originals. We also spent a lot of time experimenting on the meeting point optimization, for example we created an interesting meeting point prototype for Milan Duomo Originals, and other physical items, for example, right now we are working on printed collateral – like flyers and business cards. We’re focusing on the end of the tour. We do not want to just wave customers off, but we want the great experience they just had to continue and for us to inspire them to explore more things on their journey with GetYourGuide. A lot of our work however is actually invisible: it is answering questions like “what should GetYourGuide Originals look and feel like?”, “How can we make this entire product line, which represents the best in class, come to life?”, “How can we leverage the incredible guides we have out there and support them?”
You mentioned the GetYourGuide Originals guide kit – what were the principles behind the design?
When you design something like the guide kit, on the one hand, you want it to embody the brand, and on the other, you want it to be practical for the guides and the tour environment. For example, some of our guides work in attractions and museums that do not like big, apparent branding, so we worked on creating designs that would be less flashy. In terms of principles for design – we are a joyful brand, but at the same time it is not silly and does not want to ride on stereotypes and copy things that have been done before. We wanted the clothes to reflect that, to feel bright and fresh. It was also incredibly important to us that everything was produced sustainably and fairly, so we did our research and only worked with certified factories with transparent and fair working conditions.
Ultimately, the collection helps us make the Originals tours feel cohesive. When travelers take these incredible tours around the world, it is important to have an element of familiarity between all of them. There are even cities with several Originals, so it’s great to have customers to go between them, and have the same look and feel, reflected in the guide kit.
We have covered the design, what about the production?
The production process is quite a long and elaborate process, we did not want to make any shortcuts and designed everything from scratch. We wanted to play to the individuality of the guides. For example in a more sophisticated environment, the guides might want to wear the button-down shirt, but other guides might love the striped t-shirt, since that may make them feel joyful. We wanted to make the items recognizable, so we used colors familiar to GetYourGuide customers. There is a lot of a color we call ‘guiding red’ and the more subtle ‘midnight blue’, which we carefully color-matched.
We put a lot of focus on quality. We did not want to have a lot of polyester in the shirts, instead, we went for sustainable cotton which is breathable and more comfortable. We were always very excited when the first raw cuts of clothing came in. My female colleague and I always tried them on in the standard sizes, and made notes for adjustments – is this sleeve a bit too tight, this body is too short, the buttons are not in the right place. We also took them home and washed them 3-4 times to see how the fabric behaved. There are a lot of details you need to get right. In the process, we talked to a few guides, so we could have an understanding of what would make them feel comfortable and ensure their voice is reflected in the guide kits.
Were there any surprises along the way?
There are always things that surprise you – for example, we knew we needed a button-down shirt that worked for sober attractions in Italy. We decided to go for a linen shirt which is light but looks fashionable, but we just could not find the right fit. We spent months looking for the right cuts and materials until finally, the production company found just the right manufacturer to help us. We were really happy that we did not give up. In the end, we found just the perfect shirt, in just the right blue color.
Of course, some pieces do not go as well. For example, we wanted to replace the fabric hand-held flags with a more durable sign. We even developed and built a new prototype but it just did not hold up on the tours. In the end, we had to recall it and will have to look for a different solution. The solutions need to be functional across many different environments and climates, so this would not work without constant iteration and learnings along the way.
Do you have a favorite piece of the collection?
What I love is that we channel a lot of different moods through the clothing, so it is difficult to pick just one piece. Some days I might feel more airy and summery – and I would choose the button-down shirt. Other days, I love the nice polo shirt with the big stripes over it, because it feels quite fun. I also love the details on the winter jackets – for example, we put some interesting lining on the inside of the jacket. You cannot see it from the outside, but it just makes it a little bit more playful. Ultimately though – I do think that my ultimate favorite is the striped shirt. It’s just fun. I feel like it’s representative of who GetYourGuide is. I would love to wear it!
You have tested quite a few Originals – do you have a particularly memorable experience of one?
I was very lucky to take multiple Originals tours. The one that sticks in my memory is the Harry Potter tour in London. I am a huge Harry Potter fan, I’ve seen all the films in the cinema, I have all the DVDs – even though I do not even own a DVD-player. I was one of the first ones to take the German version of the tour. I was a bit concerned that I was going to be the only person there, but the tour was full! It was magical and just a really fun experience: the tour was on point, the guide was so funny, there is an interactive quiz element to the tour and my team of course won. I was very happy that I could have a moment to talk to the guide afterwards, to ask about their impression of the guide kit, and talk about their experience. I have always recommended everyone working on Originals to take as many Originals as possible – it makes you appreciate the tours, the quality of the guides we are working with, and see the tour through the eyes of a customer.
Honestly, even for the tours I did not get to see in person, it’s been quite great to hear reports of guides really embracing the pieces and love wearing them. To name a few – I remember in particular that the guides in Amsterdam – both for the newly launched bike tour and the Anne frank tour – love the pieces. I also heard that the guides in Split are big fans, as they are guiding a day tour on a boat , they like some of the nautical elements of the shirts.
Can you share what the next steps are for the Originals brand?
We are always working on refining what Originals look and feel like. On top of that we will take a look at optimizing and expanding the range of the guide kit – so look out for that!
The next big project that we are very excited about is focused on branding our vehicles. We want to create a ‘guide kit’ for every car, bus, boat that customers are exposed to as a part of GetYourGuide Originals, and define what that will look like. We want to make sure that customers instantly recognize their GetYourGuide Originals tour – and that everyone who is not on that tour wants to be a part of that tour. Just like the representation of the incredible guides wearing those kits, when you think – “oh, who is that guide and how do I get on that tour”, we want to create the same feeling for every vehicle that people use on GetYourGuide Originals.
Is there anything else that you would like our Originals guides to hear?
Ultimately, the guides are the reason we are here – they are the face and spirit of the tours. I am very happy for guides to be here, read this, and care about the brand, since that is what truly makes the difference. In design, we talk a lot about collaboration, and this is a sort of collaboration as well. When the amazing guides wear the kits and mention GetYourGuide on the tour, not only will the customer have a fantastic experience, but they will also recommend the tour and maybe even the guide themselves to their family and friends, or even another fellow traveler who reads a review on the tour on GetYourGuide. I know that from every tour I have taken that the guides do a fantastic job – they know our customer, they tell great stories and have the best jokes. They are an integral part of the tours and they brighten our customers’ day every day.
Thank you for all your hard work and I cannot wait to see you somewhere out there in the world!