New signs for the TTC: Can you tell the difference?
The TTC is testing a simplified revamp of its street-level subway entrance signs. The proposed version is on the left, and the existing version is on the right.
May 30, 2008
Take it as a sign of these brand-conscious times.
The TTC is piloting a simplified revamp of its street-level subway entrances that uses the TTC’s traditional red pylon logo in silhouette.
The new design will be installed and tested at the northeast corner of the Osgoode station in April so the TTC can gauge public reaction.
“We have such an iconic image for the TTC, so we wanted to make sure when we do replace it we do it right,” said TTC chair Adam Giambrone.
The pylon design dates back to the 1920s and was the visual cue that designers and TTC officials recommended following a brainstorming session at the Design Exchange in September.
It made no sense to replace the pylon given the public’s emotional attachment to the symbol, he said.
If reaction to the sign is positive, it would become the standard for new stations as the subway is extended, and at new entrances such as one planned for Queen’s Park station at the MaRS Discovery District on College St.
The pared-down pylon is meant to be easily seen and reduce the visual clutter that has grown along with the transit system, said Susan Reed Tanaka, TTC manager of engineering.
“What we would have is the TTC logo on the signpost, which attracts your attention to the location. And then the door, which is adjacent, has the station name, the line colour and the mode logo on it,” she said.
It’s still unclear whether the TTC would survey riders, the general public or design experts on the effectiveness of the new sign.
Whether out-of-towners recognize the TTC insignia “is something we’d probably have to study,” said Reed Tanaka.
There’s a lot riding on a strong TTC brand, Alex Bitterman, a professor at Rochester Institute of Technology, told participants at the Design Exchange session. A well-designed brand can give a big boost to transit ridership.
Santa Monica, Calif., for example, increased ridership by 400 per cent when it rebranded its system as the Big Blue Bus.