Sound Transit Rebrand

Let the Sound Carry You.

Sound Transit gif advertising new slogan

Sound Transit is Puget Sound's most used public transportation. In 2017, Sound Transit was responsible for over 47 million trips via light rail, bus, and commuter train. Those trips included everything from commutes to work to late-night travel back from class to tours of international visitors. With both a rapidly expanding infrastructure and a growing range of functions, Sound Transit needed a new, accessible look and concept. My partner Justin Av, and I set out to create a universal visual system that would be easy and efficient for any traveler, regardless of background or experience.

Sound Transit brandbook displaying index

Concept

It was important to us to establish an understanding of history in the process of our rebrand, so as to better inform the client about how the decisions behind the rebrand were made.

Sound Transit brandbook displaying history

It was then crucial to establish a strong concept of identity. Universality and accessibility were the focus of our rebrand. Every decision was made with everyone in mind.

Sound Transit brandbook displaying identity Sound Transit brandbook displaying identity

Logo

The logo is central to the identity system. Because the intent of the system is to be accessible to a vast range of people, we decided to form the system around universally-recognizable graphics and typography. The logo utilizes two arrows in opposite directions, forming an "S" for Sound Transit in the negative space. The bold, structural arrows represent the reliability and promise Sound Transit offers its riders.

Sound Transit brandbook displaying logo

The logo is utilized throughout the brand, designed to be easily used for any of the three lines of transport in the Sound Transit family. The final lockups are displayed below in their primary vertical and secondary horizontal forms.

Sound Transit horizontal logo lockups Sound Transit vertical logo lockups

Secondary Element

To support the primary graphic element and logo we created a secondary graphic element, a wave pattern composed of pieces of our arrow. The wave graphic is used behind the primary arrow logo to support the logo's bold character. It is meant to give aesthetic movement behind the arrow, depicting natural flow.

The primary and secondary logo elements also hold symbolic meaning. The wave graphic symbolizes life's organic nature and unpredictable flow. The primary graphic arrow element is meant to represent Sound Transit's promise of safe, reliable passage through life.

Sound Transit secondary logo graphic element Sound Transit secondary elements and primary logo graphic in use

Typography

The typefaces chosen for the system were equally as important as the graphic elements. For the logo lockup we selected Neue Haas Grotesk. This typeface was chosen for its universal appeal, geometric structure, and as a nod to the great transit systems that inspired this project. Previously, Sound Transit had used Akzidenz Grotesk. Neue Haas Grotesk was made as an update to Akzidenz Grotesk. We felt it was appropriate as we were making an update to their system.

Sound Transit brandbook displaying primary typeface

For the secondary typeface, we chose Suisse Int'l. This typeface’s versatility and dynamic form made it appropriate for a broad range of touch points for the brand. Additionally, on an ethical level, the Swiss Typeface group's practices matched the ethos of our rebrand. The Swiss Typeface group offers student discounts and sets their typefaces in Cyrillic and Arabic styles. This approach and dedication to accessibility is important to us.

Sound Transit brandbook displaying secondary typeface

Color

The colors chosen for Sound Transit’s branding coexist seamlessly with the region's muted, gray climate. The primary dark blue and bright green blend into the area's ubiquitous rainy days and cloudy afternoons.

The orange and yellow are meant to accent and add variation to the landscape, but not so much as to overwhelm the city inhabitants. The secondary light blue color supports the primary colors, offering them more strength.

The accent colors also offer a directional indication. The orange signifies South and the gold signifies North. The primary dark blue and bright green are also Seahawks colors, giving them immediate cultural context.

The orange and yellow are meant to accent and offer the landscape variation, but not so much as to overwhelm the city inhabitants. The secondary light blue color supports the primary colors, offering them more strength.

The accent colors also offer a directional indication. The orange signifies South and the gold signifies North. The primary dark blue and bright green are also Seahawks colors, giving them immediate cultural context.

Sound Transit rebrand color palette

Print Media

The brand system supports a multitude of different touch points and assets. Below is a map made to assist riders in navigating the Sound Transit routes and services.

Sound Transit link lightrail map displaying the available routes for riders Sound Transit lightrail, sounder, and ST bus map covers

Sound Transit Monthly Passes and Transfer Tickets

Sound Transit transfer tickets and ORCA cards

A print ad campaign for Sound Transit's services.

Sound Transit print posters advertising the three lines of transportation service Sound Transit print poster displayed at a Link Lightrail stop

Digital Media

A digital ad campaign aimed to reach younger audiences.

Sound Transit social media advertising attempting to reach a younger audience

Website homepage used to help riders plan their trips or check bus arrivals and departures.

Sound Transit homepage featuring a variety of digital services

Environment

The wayfinding was paramount to the overall branding system. We utilized our graphic arrow and a color blocking system to to make navigation easy for the rider. Below is an example of signage accessible to any rider, assuring them they are headed in the direction they are intending to go.

North is indicated by our Washington Gold color and South is indicated by our Honeycrisp Orange color.

Sound Transit environmental wayfinding indicating next Northern and Southern stops Sound Transit environmental wayfinding indicating next Northern and Southern stops
Sound Transit hanging signage indicating next and last stops along the Link Lightrail transit line Sound Transit hanging signage indicating next and last stops along the Link Lightrail transit line

An entrance marker. These markers are backlit so as to ensure riders can find their station no matter what time of day it is.

Sound Transit entrance markers indicating what entrance riders are at Sound Transit entrance markers indicating what entrance riders are at

A marker offering users information on route times, rider conduct requirements, and our map of the Link Light Rail system.

Sound Transit display markers that offer riders information on route schedules, conduct, and more Sound Transit display markers that offer riders information on route schedules, conduct, and more