KAYAK — The origins of Flippy

KAYAK invented metasearch in the travel space—the original unbiased travel search engine that searches every nook and cranny of the web to bring you the most travel booking choices, all in one place. It changed how we all book travel and altered the competitive landscape in online travel forever.

KAYAK launched in 2005 and instantly became the gold standard of travel search. Its unusual name* and orange identity has always made it stand out in a sea of ho-hum blue-branded and traditionally named online travel competitors. But before long (and pre IPO) its brand identity needed to shift gears from its modest startup origin to become the polished, leading travel brand that inspired devotion from tech-savvy frequent travelers. 

Inspired by the classic flip departure boards used at airports and train stations, Plaid refreshed the KAYAK brand by giving it an active voice and physical movement to reinforce the superior search result that the site delivers. Fondly referred to by KAYAK as “flippy,” the brand look has led to a unique visual language, new KAYAK site features and a national advertising campaign. Refreshing KAYAK with Flippy substantially contributed to increased traffic and site usage.

*Fun fact: the name KAYAK comes from the water borne vessel that the name suggests. Why a kayak you ask? The founders liked the idea of an individual powered vessel that gets you where you want to go by gliding lightly and quickly through even the roughest of waters. Quick and easy. Cut through. That's KAYAK. And we also liked that it was a palindrome because that's just fun.