In late 2009, Oxide Design Co. was approached by Metro Area Transit (the local mass transportation provider in Omaha, Nebraska) to look into re-branding the organization. Both MAT and Oxide agreed that the organization was indeed in dire need of a refreshed identity in the marketplace for several reasons:
- A lot of public focus is starting to be placed on mass public transit throughout the nation. MAT has a great opportunity to shine at this moment of increased awareness.
- In the past, branding and marketing had been a low priority for MAT because a majority of the riders had no other transportation options. As young professionals and other progressives look to public transit for both economic and eco-friendly reasons, MAT must appeal to a much broader audience that has a wealth of other transportation options.
- The brand and identity of MAT had been neglected for many years, resulting in a handful of different logos being used, and a dangerously inconsistent presence in the marketplace. A redesigned identity implemented across the organization could underscore the trustworthy and professional nature of MAT.
- The old identity of MAT appeared outdated and old, and implied an establishment that was woefully behind the times. A fresh identity for MAT can convey that the organization is modern and looking to the future.
Oxide worked with the team at Metro to determine the organization’s core values and the key concepts that the new identity should convey. The refined list of key words we developed collectively is as follows:
- Dependable / Consistent
- Green / Eco-friendly
- Modern / Progressive
- Reflective / Productive
Oxide recommended changing the working name of Metro Area Transit from “MAT” to “Metro”. Not only does the change signify to the public that something significant is transpiring at Metro, but it has other benefits as well. By positioning the organization as “Metro” we reiterate that Omaha’s public transit system is one part of a larger, nationwide whole. It helps the local bus system feel more cosmopolitan and connected – and consequently more modern and progressive.
Using our research as a guide, Oxide developed a new logo for Metro to convey all of the key words noted above. The new logo needed to be bold and iconic; the kind of symbol you can instantly recognize a block away on a bus sign. The new logo symbolizes the streamlined, clean, safe, efficient, and modern qualities of Omaha’s bus system. We built a strong, solid symbol for the organization that shares some DNA with mass transit systems from around the world, but has its own unique quality.
The new identity is fashioned with some explicit connections to the previous iterations. The new slanted ‘m’ and the striping on the buses are inspired directly by earlier MAT logos – bridging the gap between MAT’s past and Metro’s future. We’ve also halved the color palette, brightening the blue and eliminating the red altogether.
Along with a new identity, Oxide designed a new corporate website for Metro. The new site reorganizes the previous site’s wealth of information into a much more intuitive, easy-to-use interface and structure. The next phase will be to clarify the content of the site even further to make riding the bus as simple as possible. We partnered with the brilliant team at Brightmix to develop the site, which also streamlines the administrative side, greatly simplifying the process of updating site content, route changes, and rider alerts.
The new brand was launched at a press conference (organized beautifully by Palette Promotions) on 23 August 2010, along with the announcement of 24 new fuel-efficient busses purchased with Federal stimulus funds. U.S. Senator Ben Nelson and Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle participated in the announcement, along with a host of other dignitaries. For media coverage, see the Omaha World-Herald, the Daily Nonpareil, KETV, and KPTM.