Passionate about design

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The first livery Ray designed is still in use today by Bakers Dolphin, shown off here on 2010 Irizar Century ET10 BDT. BAKERS DOLPHIN











In the first of a two-part interview, Jonathan Welch speaks to well-known designer and founder of Best Impressions Ray Stenning about his time in the industry and passion for good design

It’s likely that most people who are in the coach and bus industry will already know the names Ray Stenning and Best Impressions. Ray and his team have made a name for themselves over the years in creating some outstanding, eye-catching and memorable transport liveries and graphics, covering everything from small local buses to express trains that streak the length and breadth of the country. A glance at the design agency’s smart website offers just a tiny glimpse of some of the many not just liveries but whole brands that Best Impressions has created over the years. For it is not just about creating a colour scheme to paint a bus or train, the ethos goes much deeper than that: Best Impressions’ ‘creating desire’ tag line sums up what the company is about.

It says a lot, I think, that its website isn’t crammed with pages of text; in itself, an example of good design, but which illustrates some of the styles and materials created. Looking at it, and having recently returned from travels abroad where buses tend to be much more ‘municipal’ in flavour, I found myself wondering whether this attachment to transport branding and design is a particularly British thing, one which does not need to exist outside the commercial world in which British operators exist in, and conversely, what effect it has on users who some might claim simply want a clean bus to turn up when it’s supposed to. In Ray’s words, though, “a clean bus turning up when it’s supposed to shouldn’t be an ambition but a given if you’re serious about running buses, for heaven’s sake!”


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