Dating back to 1902 when the city of Perpignan — the capital of the southern French department Pyrénées-Orientales in the region Okzitanien — first established a railway system, the Compagnie de Transports Perpignan Méditerranée was established in 2003 and now serves bus and train services to the Perpignan Méditerranée Métropole, a French commune that comprises 36 municipalities and over 260,000 habitants by the sea near the border with Spain. Recently renamed Sankéo, the company introduced a new identity designed by Paris- and Lyon-based Graphéine.
The acronym CTPM becomes “Sankéo”, a modern version of the Catalan slang expression for “blood and gold” [(“Sang et Or”)], a nod to the inhabitants of French Catalonia. While keeping a foot in tradition and heritage with graphic codes echoing the territory (the stripes of the Catalan coat of arms, the facets of a garnet, optical art, etc.), this new image is resolutely future-oriented, especially towards young people, the faces of the tomorrow’s mobility.
The old logo was really bad with some kind of breezy grunge font — those aligning “p”s! — loosely letterspaced next to a colored tile that also appears on the commune’s logo so I guess that makes sense. Certainly, nothing worth keeping. The new logo is… unexpected. Of all the things a seaside community bus system’s logo could look like, this is probably the last direction I would have seen coming. The logo takes its faceted edges from the garnet stone which I assume may be a thing particular to the region and perhaps recognizable to the locals. Regardless, the logo is memorable, in both good and bad ways. I’m torn between liking it and disliking it. I like how it’s different from pretty much anything else but I don’t like the letterforms, particularly the “n” next to the uppercase “K”. I definitely appreciate its spirit!
The identity’s most fun element is the set of illustrations that better interpret the facets of a stone with each line in the contour being a little longer and yielding rougher depictions of objects and animals. (Side note: at first I thought, “Flamingoes? In France?”, but yes.) The combination of flat-colored and striped facets in that color palette make for a charming, fun, beach-y vibe.
In the more formal applications, the illustrations feel a little out of place, maybe more appropriate for a zoo, since the animal illustrations overpower everything around them. Still, they are very aesthetically pleasing. The secondary element of duotone photos of people clashes against the logo and illustrations and part of it may be that the photos feel very stock-photo-y and generic.
The bus livery is extra fun and almost too fancy for a public transportation system but I guess that was the point — to elevate its presence — and it succeeds overall quite well, even stealing the thunder of the commune itself that would benefit from an identity as specific and attractive as this one.