M>Train and M>Tram Branding – Moving Melbourne
When UK Transport business National Express Group was awarded contracts to run train and tram networks in Melbourne, we were appointed to develop their brand presence. From brand strategy to naming and brand identity we helped position every aspect of the public transport brand for a successful launch.
Named M>Train and M>Tram, we were responsible for designing every touchpoint of the customer brand experience from train and tram livery and interior fit-outs, staff uniforms, online look and feel, signage systems and passenger information, right down to scripting station announcements.
The project was a two year labor of love where we were regularly found with sleeves rolled-up in train yards, tram workshops, public transport union meetings, terminus lunch rooms and specialist yarn weaving mills.
The name M>Train was selected as a friendly reference to the trains and trams belonging to the people of Melbourne. Some of the most loved transport systems in cities around the world were informally and affectionately known by a nickname – we decided to go straight to that point with an informal vernacular for the brand name.
We connected the two parts of the public transport system for the first time with twin brands linked by the shared M> and a shared visual language. This integration was seen throughout the system from route maps to staff uniforms.
The M> brand implementation included a complex and multi-layered signage system with an information hierarchy that was user oriented, strongly branded and highly functional.
We led the design process for retrofitting the existing fleet of trains and trams, developing a new palette of internal and external finishes and fixtures for the new trains and trams as they came on-line.
Our work included design of the train and tram livery and driver’s cabin fascia. We designed the fabric for the seats (fire retarded and graffiti conscious), we re-designed the seat forms to make them safer and create room beneath for bags to be stores creating more space and greater safety during peak travel times. We designed a high visibility system of safety handles and rails. Finally we redesigned the suite of passenger information so that it spoke in a friendlier brand voice and reflected the visual language of the brand.
We worked with the commercial interior designers to integrate the brand visual language into the new National Express Group office fit-out.
We developed a comprehensive brand guidelines document to ensure the entire organisation and network of industry partners had clarity on the use of all brand assets.
We directed the design of uniforms for all staff from drivers to customer service, modeling our approach on airline staff to create a more professional image. We also designed a corporate tie and scarf for head office and network-wide admin staff.
We developed the online presence for the brand bringing a new level of user experience design and functionality to the category.
We created a library of ‘moving images’ for the brands to use in their marketing and communications.
Over a period of two years we worked on more than 200 different parts of the M>Tram and M>Tram brand to create a consistent and engaging experience for the public transport users of Melbourne. If you have a project with a similar market profile or project complexity, we’d love to share our experience and share our insights with you.