“Established by voter proposition in 1999, the SFMTA (San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency), a department of the City and County of San Francisco, oversees Muni (the historic Municipal Railway), parking and traffic, bicycling, walking and taxis. Over one million people get around San Francisco and rely on us to ensure safe and reliable travel.”
Demian Rosenblatt (San Francisco, CA)
The new brand design is:
- less expensive to maintain from constant wear-and-tear
- less expensive to reproduce on all the surfaces such a brandmark will appear on
- less expensive to reproduce in the different color spaces used (it matches better in solid inks, sRGB and CMYK)
- less time consuming to manage and apply in a large organization
- less prone to improper use of the brandmark (it’s aways self-contained)
- easier to reproduce very small (and in 1 color)
- easier to place on oddly shaped surfaces
- easier to see from a distance, with poor eyesight, or poor lighting
- instantly identifiable to city residents as “transit related”… (precisely because of the ubiquity of Muni)
It always came down to completely understanding every possible context the brand might appear in and on (including the emotional and political nature of such a design project) and being sure any design choice was objectively appropriate for those contexts.
This objective approach allowed us to keep this from becoming a "design by committee” exercise.
Feedback and buy-in were crucial (especially to understand that in context, there are also different audiences we need to get through to)…
Sticking to objective design principles and asking “what is the context? Is this appropriate?” allowed us to transcend the pointless aesthetic battles of “design by committee”.
As a result, we have something that is earnest and has integrity… solving as many problems as possible without creating worse problems in the process.
It’s remarkable how close the final version of the brand is to the very very early proposed designs… the integrity of this design survived every focus group and committee intact :)
I hope for these reasons - and the many other throughly researched objective choices we made - this design will frugally serve the people of San Francisco for decades to come.
Provided text by Demian Rosenblatt. This is the opinion of the designer only, and may not reflect the views of the client or agency of record.
Images (opinion after)
The post about the logo redesign last week was pretty active and the designer of the identity reached out with some additional comments and images that are interesting to either further the conversation or stop it in its tracks, pun intended. Seeing some of the application renders makes it clear that this is more about establishing a highly recognizable (for SF citizens) and easily expandable system (for SFMTA employees and vendors) that spans multiple services, appears in numerous environments and contexts, and must always convey that the city is involved in whatever or wherever it appears. It may not be glamorous but it’s efficient and, amidst all the stuff in all the examples, the blue “M” stands out nicely as the connecting thread.