Caledonian MacBrayne

Brand development and digital transformation of Scotland’s favourite ferry service.

In 2015, we won a nationwide tender to design the new CalMac website as part of the ferry operator’s digital transformation.

This involved:

  • User persona development (brand immersion, user research)
  • Information and solutions architecture (workshops, sitemapping and content planning)
  • Data-informed user experience design (user journeys, wireframes, rapid prototyping, user testing)
  • Visual design (fully responsive, design specification) including data driven solutions such as their online ticketing system, account area, journey planner and personalised timetable display.


Our success has since led to wider brand communications, including a major brand research and brand development project, campaigns and digital marketing, not to mention the next phase of digital transformation.

Building understanding

Through customer profiling, analysis of their online behaviour and consideration of the company’s digital commitments we were able to paint a detailed picture of what the new website had to achieve.

Test driven

We worked in an agile manner, user testing every process and ensuring the supporting data aligned with our interface. This allowed us to deliver a more complete product for launch.

Building on success

Acceptance of the redesigned website was high and by monitoring customer interaction data we are able to make informed design decisions when adding new functionality. Then we began work on the brand.

People never forget a CalMac journey. Five million passengers each year, travelling 27 routes on 30 vessels supported by 1,500 staff, each and every one united by the shared CalMac experience. Our brand research, including consumer workshops, community groups and on-board interviews, identified this as a red thread that entwines every customer touchpoint, from buying a ticket on the jetty at Fionnphort to reading a Facebook advert in Fort Lauderdale.


The CalMac brand is iconic – particularly the at once distinctive and familiar scarlet ship funnel – but it’s much more than a badge. Just as CalMac the service goes beyond its destinations, connecting passengers physically and emotionally, CalMac the brand goes beyond its visual identity. Excellent staff delivering first class customer service, where satisfaction precedes profit. Commitment to the islands; a red thread, woven into the fabric of the islands.

Brand positioning

We used our research and insight to strengthen the CalMac brand positioning, evolving and fortifying the visual identity with stronger core values and tone of voice.

Quality content

We art directed new photography and designed new iconography for online and experiential use – helping to join up the customer experience at the same time as building a bank of high quality content for use across all campaigns and communications.

Customer feedback

“Bright, informative, beautifully designed, easy to navigate and I found everything I needed on it.”

+ 70% online transactions

+ 23% online ticket sales

Marketing activity

We are responsible for all BAU marketing activity for CalMac helping them drive revenue through highly targeted and effective ads covering PPC and display. We also lead on their SEO strategy.

We have maintained a constant online presence driving new customers to the website to consider the Scottish West Coast as a holiday destination and ultimately drive ticket sales through new channels without cannibalising any existing traffic.



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Want to climb aboard?

Call us on +44(0)141 572 0810 or hit the big button below.


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