'Weak' transport brands for axe as new logo beds in

By Mathew Dearnaley

The Maxx logo will be axed. Photo / Kellie Blizard
The Maxx logo will be axed. Photo / Kellie Blizard

Auckland Transport intends killing off "weak and irrelevant sub-brands" such as Maxx and ParkRight in favour of a new logo across all its operations.

The Auckland Council body has produced the new logo, of a multi-coloured circle around the letters AT, largely in-house at what it considers a modest cost of $15,000.

Communications and public affairs manager Wally Thomas said it would be added to trains, buses, ferries, parking buildings - but only when the time came to repaint them - and to new stationery orders.

That meant retiring existing brands such as Maxx, for which a separate public transport website would be "migrated" in coming months to Auckland Transport's home site.

Although the Maxx brand has been around since 2001, Mr Thomas said it had failed to achieve much public recognition.

"Nobody has ever understood it, and it doesn't say anything about transport," he said of the brand.

Auckland Transport had inherited a large number of "weak and irrelevant sub-brands" and these would be phased out over time.

An existing logo bearing his agency's name next to a pohutukawa emblem generic to all Auckland Council-controlled organisations would, however, remain as a "governance" brand.

But a largely unpublicised "soft launch" of the new operational logo has drawn mixed reviews from transport bloggers and hostility from Auckland Council member Cathy Casey, who sees it as unnecessary and a sign of defiance. "We don't need it," she told the Herald after raising concern at the council's transport committee.

"What we need is to maintain the link between ratepayers' money and the CCOs [council-controlled organisations].

"It gives people the biggest fear, that they are out of control, they are empire-building - that they are building something for them and not for the people of Auckland."

Dr Casey said the council had been forced to rein in another of its organisations, Waterfront Auckland, after that body last year spent $25,000 creating a new blue and red logo minus the required pohutukawa.

Auckland Transport's new logo has been criticised by contributors to the website transportblog.co.nz as being hard to understand.

One said he had yet to work out if it said AV, AN or AT, another thought it too similar to the National Party's logo, and a third claimed that - depending on the light - he could read the words "gay" and "cat" into it.

"It's amazing how you can bugger up two letters, AT," said a fourth.

But others believed the symbolism and association they expected it to build with transport were more important than what the letters meant, and Mr Thomas likened it to the red circle and blue dividing line which symbolises the London Underground.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown indicated acceptance of the new logo, on the understanding it would "sit alongside the pohutukawa, making it clear Auckland Transport is an Auckland Council-controlled company".

"The one thing Auckland doesn't need is a large number of different council logos confusing people," he said. "That's why we have acted to ensure the pohutukawa is the predominant logo across council."

But a half-page advertisement Auckland Transport placed in the Herald last week had a colourless pohutukawa tucked away at the bottom right-hand corner, compared with pride of place given to the new logo at the left-hand top.

Mr Thomas said that although the pohutukawa logo would be used wherever possible, it did not "say anything about movement or transport in Auckland".

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n2 at 03 Sep 2014 09:33:06 Processing Time: 479ms