We thought deeply about the functionality of how the brand guidelines would be used by employees. We wanted visual language that clearly demonstrated confines and the breadth of the brand expression. We knew that part of enacting a brand redesign is also about educating relevant staff and the public about the brand values and strategies. We carefully crafted language in the brand guidelines that gave just enough relevant context and information to understand the brand.
Redesigning the branding system for a major metropolitan train network meant thinking about a lot of factors.
Our main job was to find a branding solution that was the most appropriate given the context and function of the transit system, to think about effective wayfinding strategies that are flexible to meet the needs of a diverse system, and to keep in mind a digitally-oriented ridership to find key opportunities to solve communication problems through online platforms.
In order to develop a branded signage system, we decided to explore and think about the design in the ecosystem of a single station. With the expansion of the LINK network, we chose one of the soon to be opened station in the Roosevelt neighborhood. A cut and fill station, the underground layout provided interesting challenges to address.
In our analysis of the Roosevelt station we used the device of use case scenarios to assess location of signage wayfinding and placemaking elements. The use case scenarios help show us different ways in which people would enter the station, what their primary goals and motivations are, and how they would be interacting with the space.
We then assessed the circulation paths and potential decision points within users journey through the station. We referred to these use case scenarios to best ensure that the users needs were met and think more fully about what information would be needed at what point in the journey so that the signage system could be somewhat flexible. The resulting locations gave us a blueprint for the types of signs we would need.
The station floors were mapped to provide a blueprint for signage locations. The majority of the signs were directional, set in locations to create paths for riders to enter or exit the station. Others locations needed contextual and graphic signage, offering riders a sampling of what is in the area and transit connections.
We used the branded yellow tone to really highlight wayfinding. Within the largely gray cement constuction of the station the yellow will draw the attention of riders and help direct flow of foot traffic. We noticed that there were a great deal of variances in directions that users had to take within just the one station: head right and up, head sharp left and so on. This helped us refine the signage system to be both modular and inherently directional.
The LINK rebrand work solidified for me the understanding that a clear, unified strategy has the potential to guide a company and even a region into the next level. Our research on transit, information gathered from LINK's design department and feedback from branding and copywriting specialists brought us to the brand strategy we laid out.
There is a great deal more that could be done with the project. In reflection, I would ideally want feedback from LINK on the guidelines and user test the information presented. I would like to evaluate and test any environmental graphics system parts in order to refine the design and account fully for any legal or commercial concerns. Please read over the digitized brand guidelines LINK Light Rail: A Guide to Working with the Brand and let us know what you think.