‘VIA’ Travel Shoppe : Online to offline

Client: VIA, Flight Raja Travels
Location: Bangalore Work: Retail environment
Signage provider: Diamond Signage, Bangalore
Implementation Team: NS Interior, Kolkata

 
Client summary
The online travel portal of Flight Raja Travels www.viaworld.in, comprising more than 8000 travel network across India has been an innovation in this industry. Riding on their success VIA wanted to take this step further and increase their visibility and establish brand’s credibility in the market, hence they decided to go for VIA travel shoppe.

 

Grand strategy
When the DFC (Design for Change) team of designers and strategists of FRDC (Future Research Design Company) first sat down to deliberate on the design direction of VIA, their first challenge was to create a unique USP that would make this online portal to offline store experience stand out from other competitions. VIA had a network of franchisees and to convince them in buying this idea was a challenge in terms of design while keeping the costs low. The team came out with an idea of exploring and creating a ‘journey’ through exciting and informative graphics and visual imagery.

 
Being a travel portal, the VIA world, previously, was far removed from any kind of physical proximity to the consumer. But now the client’s requirement was to bring the world closer to the consumer—indeed, to bring the consumer to his doorstep. Thus, the first challenge for the DFC team of designers and strategists was to create a space at once beckoning and yet comforting and peaceful for VIA to make its presence felt, to bring ‘alive’ the VIA travel experience from an online portal to a ‘brick and mortar’ environment.
Attractive feel
For the customer outside or a curious onlooker, interest was created by the floor graphic partially visible from outside as a grey road with yellow strips. This was achieved by the use of vinyl flooring to reinforce the highway feel. Two horizontal steel pipes were positioned at the side with backrests to create a sitting option. This element was taken from the concept of a resting place, which also adds to the association of a barricaded edge of highway.

The same story of the highway is continued within the store interiors. The floor graphic carries inspiration from road signage, road dividers. Service elements in the store cater specifically to different kinds of experience, thereby providing a customer-centric design strategy. The service desk is left clutter free by providing niches in the wall nearby, so as to create a space whereby the customer has a sense of peace and calm, again reinforcing the idea of quiet moments over a cup of coffee, perched on the side of a highway.
Design solution
 
The façade of the VIA store, the first point of interaction, was designed to draw people into the store. The look and feel of the space had to be ‘welcoming vs. intimidating’ to communicate the story of the brand ‘Enjoy The Journey’ within the store environment.

There are two-way graphics on backlit panels in the façade depicting various packages and services offering to the client. The ‘merchandise’ of services was thus elevated to art installations: seemingly floating display units at the façade as well as in the interiors. Moreover to create brand visibility, the brand colours were used as reinforcement.
Graphic treatment
The materials and colours carry symbolism. With mirrors reflecting the brand identity, and backlit panels with alluring graphics, the consumer is lured into the world of travel via ‘VIA’. The use of the materials of white laminate, grey vinyl and red lampshades pick up their cues from the idea of a highway and the brand colours. Mirrors and the warmth of the laminate add more dimensions to the restricting spaces of 150 to 200 sq ft. The lampshades were customised so as to sync with the overall design. The two-way graphics on the floating display units were designed to give flexibility of change of the graphics to avoid becoming boring over a period of time.

The idea of movement and travel, reinforcing the curving highway, is taken up by the ‘swoosh’ element in the graphics. To the already existing logotype of the client, which is white, simple and bold, was brought in the waves and curves to add a sense of dynamism in continuity with the VIA tagline reading ‘Enjoy the Journey’.

DFC provided VIA a 360-degree experience including staff attire, fragrance, music, mood and other softer aspects. Thus, the whole VIA environment was designed to provide a ‘seamless experience’—a hassle free journey for customers beginning from this store environ to places to travel via ‘VIA’.
DFC team   

FRDC Pvt Ltd, Bangalore is an umbrella organisation having a vision of serving Indian industries with a 360-degree design approach in order to add value to their products and brands. It provides tailor-made full design services for retail, hospitality, recreational, banks, etc. DFC team led by Sanjay Agarwal, director consists of Anuradha, Mariana, Manish, Achyutha, Amarnath and others.

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