Established in 1999, the ARTC (Australian Rail Track Corporation) is, as its spelled-out acronym clearly indicates, the federal government-owned corporation that manages the rail network across Australia. ARTC doesn’t own or operate any trains, what it does is control the infrastructure for train operators to run on and manages over 8,500 route kilometres (5,200 miles) of interstate track in South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland, and New South Wales. This week, ARTC introduced a new identity designed by Sydney- and New York-based Moon.
“There was no previous depth or understanding behind the previous identity and no brand architecture to speak of, so we spent a lot of time understanding the core values of the business and developing the overall brand blueprint before we got into the fun stuff.
“Despite the cliché, ARTC was one of those businesses that you had to scratch the surface to find some real gems underneath, and as a result we discovered a company that really was quite visionary, enduring, genuine and had a ‘can-do’ attitude.
“As a result, we have really pushed the characteristics of boldness, simplicity and a degree of stark honesty to the new design that best represented ARTC’s values and its goals,” Ms Lavender-Baker said.
There is no doubt that this is a vast improvement. The previous logo, in use for the past 15 years since the first days of the organization, could only have been worse had it featured three or five more visual clichés for movement and roads. The typography didn’t help much either. The new logo goes for a much subtler approach on how to communicate “tracks” with two simple bars at the top and bottom of the industrial-looking wordmark. There really isn’t much more to unpack in terms of meaning or design implications. It’s a pretty straightforward read that establishes ARTC as a hard-working, no non-sense organization.
I usually don’t post that many images of guideline pages but these are stunning. Lovely layouts, typography, and interesting ways of displaying the same old boring stuff.
In application, the logo is supported by a vibrant color palette that gives it a bit of youthful energy while a pattern that looks like train cars lined up (as in one of the images above) adds a cool, abstract graphic to provide some bursts of color to the otherwise stark layouts. This is no bullet train of an identity but it’s definitely appropriate and perfectly executed.