Continental / United Rebranding Poll

August 17, 2010 - 10:33 pm

From these brands…Continental and United Airlines logos

To this brand…

United Airlines new logo

How does the new United / Continental branding grab you?

View Results

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It’s a sign of the Tines

August 6, 2010 - 4:16 pm

Wolfy's Hot Dogs - ChicagoIt would be hard to find a more appropriate signage solution for a Chicago hot dog joint than this one. Wolfy’s has been a fixture on the North Side for 40+ years; and their iconic and whimsical sign is a testament to spot-on branding.  
And what’s not to to like, really. The oversized shiny red link on the angled fork seems like it dropped from the sky and skewered itself perfectly. The campy angular letters on an angular red field. Excellent. The Vienna Beef sign below gives the place some cred, though it seems as if that may have been added later, along with the lighting fixture on the left edge of the sign. (its notable that Vienna Beef also uses the skewered link in its branding…. hmmm.)
All in all, this is an example of a simple idea, done well, that speaks perfectly to what this place is about. Nice.

They also serve an excellent hot dog. (albeit smaller than the one shown above)


Updated Chicago 2016 logo finally turns the page

August 4, 2010 - 1:32 pm

Chicago 2016 logo billboard


Metra Rail branding doesn’t really fly

- 1:07 pm

metra_logoOk. So a new brand for Chicago’s commuter rail won’t necessarily make the trains run on-time, and its probably pretty far down the list of priorities for the troubled transit agency. After all, they have a massive and aging infrastructure to maintain and upgrade, very high labor and liability costs, and are forever struggling to obtain federal and state funding. This would no doubt explain why the Metra brand still looks like this.

But come on, is this really the way that Metra wants to portray itself here in the 21st century? Sure, the whole thing is rendered in italic, which represents MOTION. (set in either Friz Quadrata or Crillee) And sure, the logo is UNDERLINED to give it more importance (and perhaps to represent a train platform). And you can almost hear Ben Stein saying the tagline, “The way to really fly.” Is it REALLY the way to really fly? Not really.

rta_cta_metra_paceThis is too bad, really, because Metra has a great story to tell, and has the potential to increase ridership and gain significant numbers of new customers as Chicagoland drivers become increasingly disgusted with congested expressways and 2-hour commutes. Not that long ago, Pace (the Suburban Chicago area transit agency under the Regional Transportation Authority) was able to pull off a moderately successful upgrade to its brand. But considering the fact that all of these agencies are under the same governing authority, are supposedly interconnected physical systems serving the same general purpose in the Chicago region (transit), one would think there would be some effort made to portray these different brands as parts of a whole.

Of the three brands (CTA, Metra, and Pace), the Metra logo is obviously the outlier, and most in need of attention. Its also unclear, by the way, why the RTA itself needs such a graphical logo in the first place. This disjointed brand architecture could be the result of these four agencies having grown up separately as insular silos that don’t get along well, having to compete with one another for resources.

Who knows. But from a customer perspective, a person needing to get from point A to point B, the Metra brand sure doesn’t convey itself as part of the well-oiled machine that is, or should be, mass-transit in Chicago. Can someone help them get their brand house in order? Please?

(Update: Changed title and added links not included in original post)


John Hancock Tower in Sun and Fog

August 2, 2010 - 5:58 pm

10:30am, July 25th 2010 from 35th floor of Four Seasons Hotel, Chicago