Established in 2010 and previously known as the longer-named Friends of the Rail Park, The Rail Park is a nonprofit organization with the mission to develop a continuous three-mile linear park and recreation path in Philadelphia, PA, that travels along the historic elevated Reading Viaduct and City Branch rail cut of the former Philadelphia and Reading Railroad. The park would run underground, go elevated, and would be composed of three sections, spanning ten different neighborhoods and covering 50 city blocks. The new identity for the organization has been designed by local firm Smith & Diction.
1.The outer tree shape acts as a quick visual takeaway that this is a park. This is a space full of life and growth.
2.The railroad tracks moving into the horizon represent the forward motion of the project, something that was really important to convey because it’s been caught up in budgetary restrictions for the past few years. We really wanted to drive home the idea of a future. The three railroad ties represent each section of the park: the Viaduct, the Cut, and the Tunnel.
3. Finally, there’s a second tree in the center. This tree represents the part of the Rail Park that we haven’t yet uncovered. The evergreen is strong. It’s patient. It’s the green space that’s waiting to be discovered between the lines — between rail lines, between street lines, and between the lines of the logo itself.
The old logo, designed in 2013, fitted right into the trend at the time of Your Logo is Not Hardcore with an “X” made out of something docile, in this case, some flora found along the rail park. Accompanied by some bland typography, the old logo was fine but generic and forgettable. The new logo is awesome and joyful, combining two trees and rail tracks. I could even do without the second tree — the outer chunky round tree is great as the first impression. The logo is extremely effective in instantly communicating what the key elements of the Rail Park are: a rail and a park. Boom. The accompanying wordmark is okay and it’s nicely locked-up with the tree.
This secondary logo works great as a supporting graphic and further conveys the idea of two parallel train tracks. There are a few more applications of it in Smith & Diction’s project page. What it does best is that it allows the main tree logo to appear on its own without the wordmark, which on on its own wouldn’t look as cool. All the typography is set in Google Fonts’ Montserrat.
Get people to know that this place is called the Rail Park. So how did we handle that? We took the most photographed areas of the park and slapped 100+ pt type overtop that says “This is the Rail Park.” It’s a pretty obvious choice, but it’s what made the most sense. We put it on everything from donation cards to presentations to maps. There’s no questioning it. It’s clear. It’s simple. It’s confident. It’s the Rail Park.
The identity and further expressions of the logo all feel like they are reveling in the prospect of this amazing park coming to life. There is a palpable excitement to it that comes across through simple things like those enamel pins and the rainbow-colored versions of the logo. Overall, the logo and identity perfectly communicate the goal of the organization and the t-shirts, totes, pins, and maps all have a great vibe that supporters will likely embrace. I would totes tote that tote around town.