Established in 1996 in Salina, Kansas, Krystal (formerly Krystal Koach) is a manufacturer and seller of luxury passenger buses. Now, I bet that’s an industry you hadn’t even considered. (I hadn’t). To clarify: it’s not a service provider of luxury shuttle service but a seller of these buses to companies that may have a use for such a vehicle. After plant relocations and a bankruptcy, Krystal’s bus operation assets were purchased by ElDorado National, a manufacturer of commercial buses. Looking to create some distance from previous ownership but recognizing that its name had equity in the industry, Krystal introduced a completely reinvented identity designed by Wichita, KS-based Gardner Design.
The new mark is a throwback to the original source of power for multi-passenger coaches — the horse. And this thoroughbred represents strength as well as prestige. Its faceted, crystal structure is not merely a play on words; it is indicative of the brand’s high-end products and service, as well as the company’s dedication to transparent business practices.
The wordmark is important because it provides linkage to the former brand. The custom face creates symmetry with an inverted Y and A. It connotes a sense of style and high readability that is easily scalable; and within it appears a small nod to the name itself.
The new color palette gives a sense of regality without being flashy. It is fresh and modern, and breathes new life into the bus manufacturing industry’s visual landscape.
There is nothing nice to say about the previous logo other than the icon was symmetric. The new one clearly establishes a new kind of company with a renewed sense of pride in its products with the choice of a strong horse that also alludes to the vintage and romantic charm of riding around in a carriage coach. The faceted execution of the horse and the gold color give it a diamond-like quality that appropriately represents the product it’s selling: luxurious, opulent, attention-grabbing. The wordmark is a little odd. Okay, maybe plenty odd with the flipped “Y” as an “A” and the protruding “R” — without those extra maneuvers it would have been a perfectly acceptable, simple wordmark.
In application, there is a gold-hued faceted pattern that is not very different from other faceted patterns we’ve seen but I think it works well here and feels like the right amount of restrained opulence needed to sell luxury passenger buses. When I see the ads and applications above I keep thinking of Las Vegas and people with money being douchey. So, as weird a compliment as that may sound like, that’s what it’s meant as. The design works for the industry and end-consumer and Gardner has done it with commendable restraint and proper execution.