Photo: Ian Sane
Portland Streetcar was the first modern streetcar in America when it opened in 2001. After 15 years of service and 50 million rides, the time had come for an overhaul. The brand needed a revived look and feel to meet the closing of the central city Loop—where east and west Portland would finally become connected by rail.
With this closing of the Loop, Portland Streetcar had a unique opportunity to refresh all their materials and communication tools to create a seamless user experience—including station map frames, ticket machines, in-vehicle signage, social media, website, collateral and all other outlets.
Logo before and after
Through an in-depth process of discovery, stakeholder interviews, and reviews of collateral and various brand touchpoints, we developed an overall messaging strategy to emphasize the value proposition of Streetcar. We developed a brand story and central archetype that focused on appealing to a broad audience of policy makers, politicians and developers, as well as riders and non-riders alike. The idea was to keep the brand friendly and approachable, expressing linkage and looping, while communicating connectedness—linking the east/west sides of the river. Implicitly, we wanted to evoke more than just the inner city skyline, to let a fuller story be told.
The new logo evokes the “S” of Streetcar, its rails, the bridges it crosses, and the east and west sides of Portland coming together. Since our research showed the colors of the iconic cars were a popular and essential part of the look, we made sure to keep the palette intact and let it shine to its full effect.
Upon completion of a brand overhaul, we continued our work to update and enhance the vehicle graphics, route maps, ticket machines, and informative print collateral. We also delved into updating the visual and functional qualities of the website. We created a site that not only provides users with up-to-date information—but also offers an engaging, friendly and easy-to-use experience. The brand’s bold visual language, paired with extensively streamlined user-interaction and information organization, resulted in a site as easy and fun to navigate as the Streetcar itself.