Link Light Rail
Branding identity project for Seattle’s public rail system, Link Light Rail.
Link is a growing, world-class rail system, with a responsibility to serve the public. The brand must speak in a unified and clear voice in order to communicate the real transit solution it provides for the Puget Sound region. The next phase of the brand better addresses the needs of the changing region, while also harkening to tradition and the history of the rail system in this country. The brand is practical, far-reaching, and civic.
How can Link’s brand be simultaneously flexible, comprehensive, and forward-thinking? The challenge for the project was to find a practical and accessible solution that simultaneously considered the progressive impact this growing system will continue to have on the Puget Sound region.
Through a vivid and trustworthy color palette, as well as layered, angular graphics, the brand bridges progress with civic duty. The brand’s cohesive, simple nature exhibits its trusted characteristic. The graphic elements are unified, but not uniform in order to communicate its forward-thinking core. It is bright, grounded, and assertive in its public facing messages, its color choices, and typographical expression.
The brand begins with the logo: a grounded and dynamic wordmark. Based off of a readable, industrial typeface, it easily communicates the brand as smart, trusted, and connected. The ribbon effect and slight italic brings movement and connection. The structured thickness, trusted green, and rounded corners encompass the brand’s approachable, inclusive nature.
We took cues from the angles of movement within the logomark to establish the graphic elements for the brand. This provides an inherent cohesion. We selected key angles in the logomark to create unified but not uniform set of angles to replicate throughout the brand deliverables.
The chosen set of angles show movement and innovation, referring to the smart choice users are making when riding with Link. These angles demonstrate the clear directionality of how Link is moving us all forward, while also indicating openness. The stable elements anchor the shapes and create a sense of trust and reliability as they refer to the horizon and land that we are on.
The layering elements demonstrate Link’s ability to connect people, neighborhoods and our region. A third color is created by the overlap of the two primary colors, which demonstrates how we are greater than the sum of our parts.
The primary palette is used to communicate actionable information, place-making and navigating through the stations. Vivid yellow is used to draw the eye, orient users, and indicate locations of critical information such as trains. Evergreen Green and Railway Green are used in graphic angle overlaps and solid fields to create a sense of trustworthy solidity.
Social Media Campaign
Link has partnered up with Foreterra, a local leader in regional sustainability, to build a marketing campaign that invites the rapidly growing Puget Sound community to discuss matters around development in our region. “Our City. Your Voice” encourages its citizens to use the hasthag #letsgetmore and begin discussions around what they cherish most as well as development they are proud of and want to continue. It is an open, progressive platform of user-generated content, which Link and Foreterra would then use as data to inform development decisions in their powerful circle.
Reflection and Moving Forward
The project was a great opportunity to solve real-world problems, as we received feedback and guidance from employees at Sound Transit as well as copywriters from the Starbucks Creative Team. We did a lot of groundwork and research to build and design a practical, realistic solution, keeping closely in mind the broad, far-reaching audience. Moving forward, we would begin to think about how the brand could be expressed internally, within Link and Sound Transit. We would also begin to explore the interactivity of the brand, through kiosks and display screens.