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SFMTA’s new logo looks too familiar

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“The Dodgers don’t have a monopoly on blue,” transit agency fires back

Logo via SFMTA

The San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency released a new logo Tuesday. Fortunately, it harks back to their “worm” logo created in the mid-1970s by graphic designer Walter Landor.

“The new SFMTA logo has been carefully designed to bring together the primary two elements of the agency: Muni and the former Department of Parking and Traffic,” notes the agency. “The city’s transit system will still be Muni and its look will not change.”

While many have cheered the new signage’s clean yet timeless appeal, others have chided the new logo’s hue—a blue similar to the shade found on the backs of our arch rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Gasp.

SFMTA, however, did not take these defamatory accusations lightly. Au contraire:

Got it?

SFMTA went with a new look as part of their Strategic Plan covering the next two fiscal years. The agency explains:

As with any logo, we wanted it to be clear about what our agency stands for. Simplicity was our goal—especially after research told us that less than 12 percent of San Francisco residents could name the municipal agency charged with transportation, according to public perception research in 2015. And in 2017’s Muni Customer Satisfaction Survey said that nearly half of respondents did not understand the SFMTA and its responsibilities.

From the outset, we knew this new SFMTA brand would have to balance several needs. It would have to better connect us as an agency and make us easily identifiable to the public. It was also important that a new brand convey the SFMTA’s proud heritage as the operator of the oldest publicly owned transit agency in the country.

With all this in mind, we tested several logo designs with the public. And we heard that we should embrace the “M” logo. Just as “Muni” is short for San Francisco Municipal Railway, this “M” would stand for the “municipal” in the agency name. The letter part of the logo also pays homage to the Muni “worm” logo designed by Walter Landor in 1977. It’s funky and uniquely San Francisco. It also helps that “M” is frequently used in other large cities to symbolize transit services.

We feel that the new SFMTA logo stays true to our roots and San Francisco’s transit-first policy, while still reflecting a modern and more inclusive transportation sensibility.

Fret not, worm logo fans—the agency promises that the classic logo will continue to be used throughout the Muni system. Phew.