As Peter mentioned yesterday, it appears that Auckland Transport now has a logo. The image below has appeared on the front of the Regional Land Transport Programme (RLTP) which covers the projects that AT plan to ask the NZTA to help fund over the next three years. The RLTP was recently consulted on at the same time as the councils long term plan. So is this Auckland Transports new logo.

By comparison they currently use this:

I’m not a design expert so won’t comment on that part of but I’m sure a few readers will. Also a few weeks ago I had a survey asking my thoughts on the MAXX and AT brands, at the time I said:

Now I can’t say what it was specifically but I got the distinct impression from the wording of it that they may be considering doing away with the MAXX name and perhaps looking to adopt Auckland Transport instead.

I wonder if this logo is related to that?

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    1. What, motorways, highways, roads and streets? 😉

      Seriously though, I’m fairly fond of this logo actually, but I think they should drop the coloured section and just have it in monochrome. That would be simple, punchy and iconic.

      1. No the typeface is horrible: Has to go. It’s dated [see Chris T below] without being classic.

        But the way it has had a semi-secret soft release through the RLTP papers suggests that it is just a toe in the water… plenty of hope that it is just the start of a process and not the end.

  1. Patrick Reynolds’ ‘small town trucking company’ logo, probably whipped up by one of the owner’s children for $50. Displaying all the sophistication of the small provincial backwater that it appears we aspire to be. Actually, now that I look at it a little more closely it rather looks like the old Channel 7 logo in Sydney, c. 1980. It’s amazing how you can totally bugger up two letters AT.

    1. Indeed, “AT” is meaningless to the general public. If you are pushing a public brand, then it needs to be understandable. If your brand isn’t intended to be publicly recognisable, then you don’t actually need a brand in the first place.

  2. I still haven’t worked out if the new logo says “AV”, “AN” or “AT” yet, that isn’t a good start! Also the colours draw your focus away from the lettering, and thats what you should be drawn to, unless somehow the circular border is more important??

    The old logo at least is understandable, but thats about all it has going for it. Is it really even a logo? Its 3 lines of text..

  3. I think the new logo is trying to do too much; the border and colours are rather confusing/distracting. For transport logo/typeface inspiration I’d look no further than the Netherlands (and Europe in general).

    Here’s the logo for GVB (Amsterdam’s main PT provider):

    And here’s a more stylised logo used by NS (the national heavy rail operator), which does not even have letters:

    Both are fairly strong/bold logos in their own way.

    1. Personally I like the AT logo more than those links…might just be me though…not the best logo, but better than anything that we have had, and better than a lot in my opinion. The problem with logo design, it can be to the taste of the user and it trying to get as many people as possible to like it, in the end the simpler the better with todays fashion.

      1. Yes the simpler the better… one colour, no tricky typeface moves, one simple shape.

        And that shape should be resolved, whole, like a circle or a square; should unconsciously suggest all of your connectivity needs can be met here…

        Well I suppose this fractured one more accurately describes our current system but I am optimistic that things are moving in the right direction and I would love it if our logo could symbolise that…. ah well….

        Now I really am going to drop it. Honest. Promise.

        1. Patrick you should find something better to do with your time.. it’s kinda sad you have the time to ramble on design blogs

        2. Perhaps you should mention that you work for Designworks the company that ‘designed’ this logo, rather than trolling?

  4. P.s. As an aside I don’t think it’s important if the letters mean anything to the “general public.” It’s the strong symbolism and association with transport that matters. For example while not many visitors to Amsterdam know that GVB stands for “Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf”, they do know that GVB indicates public transport.

    1. Yes, that’s right, if you get it right it becomes its own definition, many, many systems around the world use an M for metro, which is ultimately derived from a religious division of a region in France: La Métropolitain, because that’s how an early rail company described itself: La Compagnie du chemin de fer métropolitain de Paris.

      Stockholm’s T, one of the best, comes from the word Tunnelbanna. No idea what that means; possibly ‘underground’?

      Doesn’t matter; AT is good, unusually perhaps it does have a clear reason as the abbreviation of Auckland Transport, they are graphically strong and clear shapes, and there is the great pun on the word ‘AT’. It has a chance to become one of the world’s great classic transit symbols. Which is certainly something we should aim for. But that one above will never be that.

      There is so much we can learn from all those before us, and as the great designer Charles Eames said:

      “Innovate as a last resort. More horrors are done in the name of innovation than any other”

      1. Tunnel = tunnel. Banna = Bahn = Path/course/line/way. So yes it literally means “tunnel (rail)way”.

        I quite like the T, perhaps we could adopts something similar standing for transit to use as a logo at stations and stops and the like much like the London Underground roundel and various others. Then Auckland Transport could adopt a logo that ads an A to the same T. So much the same logo, except it’s T for the system and signage and becomes (A)T when specifically referrring to the organisation.

  5. From a distance it’s too similar to the National Party logo, at least for me – the A and slanting T almost make an N. If it’s not just me, that would be kind of an ironic logo to adopt, don’t you think?

  6. Depending on the light, the dark coloured bit spells out both “Gay” and “Cat”.

    What’s wrong with a simple typeface, as Patrick pointed out yesterday, saying “A K T” or similar?

    This one looks like a committee designed by a camel..

  7. I note this logo is now on the front of the EMU mock up in the pictures released by AT this morning.
    This biggest issue with the logo is AT I think is that is hard to get the right link to show up as the first result in Google.

    1. Yep, Patrick and I were there and got a few photos, their is a huge version of the logo on the side but also other changes to the colours we showed last week. I will get a post up this evening.

      1. Nice. Yes- unfortunately

        It looks even worse on TV.

        Although I swore a Patrick Reynolds loomed into the camera at one stage!

      2. Googling public transport images on google and it is just the same as all the logos around the world. If it was too flashy it would look out of place and everyone would be saying it looks like a soap powder brand or whatever. This is public transport after all.

    1. The red blue and green appear to paying homage to the Pohutakawa flower on the Auckland Council logo.

      When I see the logo the white part above the AT has the appearance of a sloth or a greyhound asleep on top of the AT, perhaps that’s what they were going for.

  8. Remember the current logos were forced on the council as they were designed hurriedly by the transition agency, and I dont think Rodney budgeted much for logos!
    If Auckland Transport is to replace Maxx need alot of work on the websites. The logo should link straight to the journey planner and pt info, not the the AT policy and pr news site as the pt info site should get an huge amount more hits, repeat visits and dwell time.

    1. If you’re going for a logo that is clever and uses a shape to contain the letters, I think the Queensland Rail logo wins hand down.

    2. Yes, I agree. Still not happy with the letters though. The way they are truncated and linked to the border sacrifices too much legibility in the name of style.

      Do you think the above logo, especially the way the letters have been stylised, will make it easy for you to spot signs identifying where to access public transport? I don’t think so, especially in urban environments that are already uber-cluttered with loud signs/brands. In these environments symols/logos for important public amenities are usually distinguised by the simplicity of their design, and I think that is Patrick’s main point. Think of the symbols for bathrooms etc.

      Aside from the complexity, there is something else that has unfortunately been missed here. That is the fact that public transport branding is much bigger than Auckland – it’s almost international in nature. I think that’s one reason why so many metro and rail systems overseas have similar logos. It’s because in choosing a similar logo they can leverage off each other.

      I realise that this PT logo “leverage” is more important to visitors than it is to locals, who have more time to adapt to local logos, but nonetheless I think it’s foolhardy to sacrifice legibility that is reinforced by international PT systems.

      OK, PT branding is not as universal as the symbol for bathrooms, but there are some common themes that are not reflected in AT’s effort. The logo is definitely bold, but I don’t think it’s wise.

  9. Quote from RNZ news this morning. “Proud to say it was designed in house at a cost of $15,000”.
    Chances are an NZ ad agency would have done worse, as they came up with silly the Maxx brand.

      1. Patrick you should find something more constructive to do with your time.. It’s pretty lame how much effort you put into cutting down peoples work.. still quite entertaining though I will make sure I check back to read more of your mindless shit.


        1. Perhaps you should be a little more open to constructive criticism of your work Damian. Calling his critique mindless shit without addressing any of his fairly well articulated points is pretty juvenile. Perhaps you could fill us in on the brief and your design process to put the final outcome in a bit of context?

        2. Talk about an overreaction, it’s a crap piece of design work Damian, but perhaps you lack the skills to see that? Did this design even go through some sort of critique? It’s old fashioned and would be laughed out the door if you attempted to offer the same logo to anyone in countries where design actually matters like the Netherlands or Switzerland. Face it, it was accepted because good design in NZ remains neither valued nor viewed as necessary. I don’t think you have to look further than the fact that the council plows all of its website design and creation to Datacom, who churns out dozens of ugly websites based on the same ugly template.

  10. Have to say, the more I look at the train, the more the Logo is growing on me. I personally think the Queensland Rail logo is Ugly, definitely wouldn’t want that on our trains. But then I guess that is again down to personal opinion. I just think you can do more with a circular logo as well. Not convinced on the colours though…

  11. I knew I’d seen that sloping “T” with the rounded corners somewhere before. Have a look at the Telstra Australia logo [img][/img]

  12. Having looked at other Designworks products (Hop, the 2003 Design Taskforce report, etc) I can now understand why AT have such a derivative, dated, heavy-handed, literal, overcomplicated and banal logo. Not impressive by any metric.

  13. Have been wondering whether lower case letters would be better: “at”, enclosed by a circle (whole or otherwise) that could be linked to the “t” if you thought simple letters were to0 minimalist.

    Lower case letters would mean more white space between the letters inside the circle which would improve clarity IMO. On the downside its less obviously an abbreviation and may reduce the strength of the letters. Also agree with monochrome calls.

    P.s. Damian, if you want to defend the logo then please get in touch; we welcome guest posts. We won’t, however, tolerate random trolling and/or personal attacks – especially from people that may have vested but unstated commercial interests.

  14. Agree plain letters in a circle carry international weight.

    I certainly prefer the single colour version (and further, without the light blue background at all).

    Don’t have the tools to mock this up, but could the outer circle taper to where it meets the letters on each side? Might increase legibility and even convey motion better.

  15. There should be a logo for the rail network, not AT. They already have a “branding” and its the smaller one below the AT symbol at the top of this post. Or do they now have two logos? Why?

    Is this going to be on buses as well? If so, that’s going to be confusing. Tourists look up ahead, see the “AT” symbol on a post and head there thinking its a metro station entrance, only to find out its the stand for the no.711 to Mission Bay.

    A chance to totally rebrand commuter/metro rail in Auckland, lost.

    1. Why should rail have its own logo? Travellers want to get around, whether it’s rail, bus or ferry. Integrated branding for the whole of the public transport network makes sense when the planning and delivery are meant to be integrated – to say nothing of the ticketing.

      1. Then any reason why metros overseas have their own logo/brand?

        Much has been made on other posts related to this about the use of “M”and “T” to brand the metro system in those cities. I just Auckland would want to do the same, if only as a marketing exercise.

  16. Going back to Patricks originial pink train with a cycle logo on the side, I’m kind a fan of making the whole train a graphic statement rather than relying too strongly on a discrete logo; very different (not pink!) but a sleek look says a lot:

    …and I kinda like the very retro logo on the one (not saying its for Auckland mind)

  17. Not sure if anyone will ever read this, maybe some pushed from the Herald article, but…

    My biggest peeve is the way it pays a token nod to the Auckland (Council) logo, rather than trying to be instantly associated with it. Font’s are less important that that subtle association – the font isn’t great, but it’s not objectionable.

    The use of ‘AT’ is fine – it’s a logo, it doesn’t need to spell it out, it needs to be recognisable, and strongly associated. The use of a circle reflecting the pohutukawa is INSPIRED, and then trampled all over by some ‘arty’ idiot trying to ‘not be too literal’ or something…

    Quite simply, the red ‘flowers’ should extend over the top (pohutukawa style) to it’s natural stopping angle in line with the ‘A’, the blue ‘water’ should extend around the bottom to it’s natural stopping angle in line with the ‘T’, and the green ‘leaves’ should appear on both sides from the red and blue to the crossbars of the ‘A’ and ‘T’

    I’m sure there are many other variants that are possible, but mocking this up immediately changes the logo from “WTF, oh, they’ve sorta used the council colours but are trying to make compost in the ocean; took a bit of thinking to realise that” to basically the same concept, but in a way that resonates with, and immediately calls to mind (or at least subconsciously) the Auckland pohutukawa.

    … to see what I mean

    1. Why does it have to be associated with the AC logo at all. Even in your “fixed” version without looking at the two next to each other the relation is not clear, and therefore, in my opinion, totally useless.

      If we do want to play with the colour scheme (and not anything else) I would just go with the monochrome version Peter put in his comment above.

  18. It appears that AT does indeed have a new logo, and I suspect that the reaction in this thread may well be because it was developed in-house by AT and at quite a low cost of about $15,000. Indeed, our collective reaction gets quite a bit of coverage.

    As for Cr. Casey, sometimes a branding exercise is absolutely required. The multiplicity of brands associated with transport in Auckland are distinctly unhelpful in trying to drive a consistent, coherent message about improvements.

  19. AT are now using this logo on their email footers alongside the old one, which loks quite simple and elegant in comparison

  20. Yes, it seems that AT has decided to implement this piece of second rate design plagiarism come what may. I gather that Veolia staff are being re-uniformed already and, no doubt soon, at vast expense, we’ll be seeing all the Maxx signage that’s been installed at new stations throughout the network, etc, being replaced or at least covered up with sticky labels that will fade, peel and just add to the design mess that is Auckland Transport. If they can’t get their public transport branding right how can we expect them to run the rest of the services they’re responsible for? Keisha Castle-Hughes was so right when she observed ‘Times like these I hate being from this f*** ing hick town of a country.’

    1. In two weeks, nobody will mind anymore. Storm in a teacup.

      Yes, good branding is important. But the logo isn’t BAD branding (I’d consider it neutral, neither outstanding nor an issue), and other things remain much more important. Don’t get too focused on visuals. Even in 2012, whether something works remains much more important, once the PR flaks and the media have moved on.

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