We all know the arguments about overcrowded streetcars, slow service and a pathetic lack of overall vision and political will for Toronto’s subway system. But you know what? There is something else that irks me to no end about our city’s transit commission: The enormous lack of brand consistency across the plethora of posters, signage, and messaging that is scattered around TTC stations and vehicles.
Each one has a completely different design style - fonts, layouts, colour palette, etc. It is absolutely atrocious. Some of the ads look like they were created in Corel Draw or PowerPoint by a team of toddlers. If you look at New York or London, every single piece of advertising, rider messaging and consumer facing material is put together in a way that you immediately know who is speaking to you. On any given subway car in Toronto, you will see messages about gum disposal, escalator safety, student passes, TTC co-marketed events, and many others. You want to shake a finger at me about throwing out my gum or advise me on how to properly ride an escalator? Cool. Just make sure they all share a consistent look and feel so I know the ad was actually created by the TTC. It is infuriating, amateur and painfully embarrassing.
If you want this city to take the TTC seriously you need to look at your brand identity - especially something which, during these recent times of city-wide TTC bashing, is more crucial than ever. Come on TTC, do yourself a favour - get a set of brand guidelines, stick to it and stop letting incompetent children design your ads.