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October 22, 2007 10:03 AM   Subscribe

Why is the new NYC taxi logo so ugly? The bumpy design process probably had a lot to do with it. The Times invited eight designers to try improving on it. Perhaps you can do better? (Ob. soundtrack)
posted by Armitage Shanks (57 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
I am so happy to hear you say this! (But as for the bumpy design process, it looks like the original proposal was almost as bad).
posted by nobody at 10:10 AM on October 22, 2007


Argh, the three links for "improving on it" may not show up correctly because I have fat potato fingers. They should be:

improving
on
it
posted by Armitage Shanks at 10:12 AM on October 22, 2007


I think the new logo should be a plate of beans.

I mean, can't the just stencil TAXI on it with black spraypaint and be done with it?
posted by GuyZero at 10:18 AM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


The checker fade is just strange. It makes me think .... Chicago?

But the main Logo just looks like it has been xeroxed a few too many times. So I guess it is cool, like 1970's NYC?
posted by R. Mutt at 10:20 AM on October 22, 2007


Cooks? Meet broth.

That logo really does suck, I've gotta agree. Could've been an opportunity to do something really cool. But nooooooooo. :(
posted by miss lynnster at 10:22 AM on October 22, 2007


TAXI!
Plus, it’s instructional on what to say to anyone hailing a cab.
Works for me.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 10:23 AM on October 22, 2007


Spraypaint "taxi" on both sides, then scratchfitti/acid etch the fare rates into every glass surface.
posted by R. Mutt at 10:23 AM on October 22, 2007


How about a taxi crashing into the WTC, I know Guiliani would support it.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:25 AM on October 22, 2007 [5 favorites]


Slightly on-topic: what's the deal with the flowers on the hoods and trunks? Is it related to this process?
posted by Xoder at 10:30 AM on October 22, 2007


What does "AXI" stand for?
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:32 AM on October 22, 2007


It's awful, I know - even the analyises on the Times link are awful, too. As a taxpayer here I'm disgusted to have paid the design firm.

On the other hand, those flowers are pretty great!

And wouldn't it be great to paint the new hybrid taxis green?
posted by DenOfSizer at 10:35 AM on October 22, 2007


The flowers are just artwork for fun! We love Mayor Bloomberg, it was his idea!
posted by DenOfSizer at 10:36 AM on October 22, 2007


The flowers are a kids art project. The colors were all hand painted on plastic decals, which was then applied to the taxi.
posted by R. Mutt at 10:39 AM on October 22, 2007


Who cares what it looks like. It's a taxi. It's not like someone on your block just painted their house purple.
posted by wfc123 at 10:42 AM on October 22, 2007


No, its like 9 out of the 10 houses on your block were just painted purple.
posted by R. Mutt at 10:44 AM on October 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


Dear god, that logo is terrible. Why have a different typeface on either side of the circle? And why the circle at all? To look like the subway symbols? (Hope the tourists don't get confused when the T train starts running in a few years.)

Do they even need a logo? Did they have one before? I lived there for 6 years and I can't say I ever noticed a logo. I think the yellowness is enough, really.
posted by equalpants at 10:48 AM on October 22, 2007


Oh hey, from the "on" link: making the medallion number larger is a fantastic idea. And that guy's totally right that the logo is pretty much useless as an identifier; you see a yellow car hurtling toward you, it's safe to say it's a cab. The medallion number, though: what a great idea.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:48 AM on October 22, 2007




It's frightening that people would actually care this much about a taxi logo.

It's a taxi.
posted by wfc123 at 10:48 AM on October 22, 2007


Plus, it’s instructional on what to say to anyone hailing a cab.

Only tourists yell, "TAXI!" to hail a cab in NYC. The rest of us know that the cabbies can't hear that shit inside their cab over the street noise.

Stick your hand out and wait.
posted by Mikey-San at 10:56 AM on October 22, 2007


Wow. Just wow. There's lots to hate in that, but for me the worst is the NYC logo, looking like the smudgy output of a cheap thermal printer. Here's your receipt, buddy.
posted by mumkin at 11:06 AM on October 22, 2007


It's frightening that wfc123 would actually care this much about a taxi logo thread on the internet.

It's a thread on the internet.
posted by DU at 11:09 AM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ah, design by committee. I run into that fairly often since I work as a government designer. We had one project for a bus ad that was so restricted in the initial terms of what it must and must not have that it was literally impossible to get them what they wanted. They ended up settling for something they didn't like and got charged an arm and a leg for it because they kept changing the design requirements.
posted by sciurus at 11:15 AM on October 22, 2007


I think the new logo should be a plate of beans.

I mean, can't the just stencil TAXI on it with black spraypaint and be done with it?


Ha! Indeed. I know on those cold rainy nights when I'm trying to flag a cab down, I make my selection based on how sexy the logo is.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:22 AM on October 22, 2007


They should have waited for the Bladerunner box set to come out, for the inspiration.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:25 AM on October 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Dear God that logo is.

Terrible? Not really. Great? Certainly not. It's only crime is that they bothered at all. Taxis are big yellow things that take you places. The only spot on it that matters is the fare table on the inside, the medallion number somewhere outside, large, and the Off Duty lights on top, which are currently not large enough and obscured by the medallion number as it is.

Here's mine. Big TAXI logo on side because I imagine the city would have insisted on something. For real, even having a logo is redundant, but if it's gotta be there, might as well be legible from a mile away.
posted by shmegegge at 11:32 AM on October 22, 2007


I played with it, came up with this. If you're gonna use the checkers, use 'em for real, black and white and square. And put it into the logo without being obnoxious about it. An X is already a checker pattern.

http://amberdigital.com/images/nyctaxi.jpg
posted by condour75 at 11:42 AM on October 22, 2007


with link.
posted by condour75 at 11:43 AM on October 22, 2007


I dunno about this logo nonsense, but NYC taxis have the best available/off duty light system I've seen*. I wish more cities would adopt their system.

Note: I may not have visited your city yet, so don't get worked up if you think I'm insulting the brilliant taxi light system prevalent in your town.
posted by mullacc at 11:47 AM on October 22, 2007


I am an unapologetic fan of NYC taxis, and consider them to be one of the greatest modes of transportation in the country. I've written at length about what an accomplishment they are, and I'm frequently asked to speak about things like city transportation and use them as a positive example.

With increasing frequency, though, I find people who are unfamiliar with the city questioning the legitimacy of taxis, and of the drivers therein, because the default yellow color scheme doesn't look "professional". Typically, these are fairly street-savvy individuals, who are used to using various transportation services, and associate a white paint job, or possibly a grey/black paint job, with "real" transportation.

I'm completely fine with a green paint job option being made available for those who want to keep the current scheme, but visitors who come in from other cities should be able to tell that the taxi is a compelling transport without being distracted by the unfortunate default aesthetics.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 11:51 AM on October 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


Damnit. Green should say yellow.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 11:52 AM on October 22, 2007


They should cover the entire cab with that active camouflage that makes things look invisible, but make it so it looks like just the words "TAXI TAXI TAXI TAXI" in big yellow letters flying along in the air. However, have a water-activated switch on the roof so the taxi would go into complete invisibility mode automatically as soon as it starts to rain.
posted by pracowity at 11:57 AM on October 22, 2007


This logo is the bastard child of Lisa Simpson and the other half of the London Olympics logo.
posted by Krrrlson at 12:41 PM on October 22, 2007


Personally, I think they should redesign the interior of cabs: cover the roof in flashing multi-colored lights, install a few built-in TV cameras, and have a white guy ask you trivia questions.
posted by turaho at 12:43 PM on October 22, 2007


A yellow vehicle with a light on top. What could it be except a taxi? Paint TAXI on it if you must; paint TAXI in green instead of black on a yellow vehicle that is environmentally aware, but the whole idea smacks of let's get the citizenry riled up about something so they won't notice something important.
posted by Cranberry at 12:57 PM on October 22, 2007


Is this a thread where we hate on NY? Or do we just do that with every single thread that mentions Los Angeles? I couldn't find the answer in the wiki. Help pls kthx.
posted by eyeballkid at 1:04 PM on October 22, 2007


I adore NYC taxis -- that logo is strickly from hungah! -- but give me a roomy London black cab any day, driven by a toothless cabbie with a head full of the Knowledge smoking filterless cigs while decrying the anti-smoking laws and perpetual traffic jam in a Cockney accent.
posted by digaman at 1:28 PM on October 22, 2007


Shudder. That is one awful logo.

But I think the gist of several designer's comments was right. The yellow itself is the brand (CitrusFreak12 notwithstanding). There was no need for a logo, although maybe a less stencil-looking font is still helpful.

The fantastic idea was to make the cab number huge. Lord knows that most people can hardly remember that they parked in section "F" let alone a four-digit code that reads like a captcha, but it's a start. It suggests, at the very least, some accountability, which should reflect well on the cabbie/passenger relationship.

If it's referential design they're working toward, I would have done black-on-white lettering suggesting an available cab. The checker thing is OK too, but I would have put it right with the logo instead of over on the trunk like racing stripes.

I think it partly comes back to the fact that the NYC Visit logo itself is subpar. It's a bit brutalist, suggesting asphalt lanes instead of buildings or people. I could almost expect that to be the logo of the city streets department, but tourism? It's certainly never going to compete with I♥NY, that's for damn sure.
posted by dhartung at 1:43 PM on October 22, 2007


Yeah, what is *up* with that NYC Visit logo? It looks like it doesn't even render correctly onscreen, it's so blocky.
posted by digaman at 1:48 PM on October 22, 2007


I guess my Anil Dash reference was too vague, huh?
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 2:41 PM on October 22, 2007


I am an unapologetic fan of NYC taxis, and consider them to be one of the greatest modes of transportation in the country.

A particular city's cab is its own mode of transport?

Love it or hate it. I guess there's no "meh" in New York.
posted by dreamsign at 2:46 PM on October 22, 2007


The fantastic idea was to make the cab number huge.....It suggests, at the very least, some accountability...

I agree its a great idea - just yellow with a huge number. But I suspect that the drivers would be totally against it. Because... It suggests, at the very least, some accountability...
posted by R. Mutt at 2:47 PM on October 22, 2007


Dreamsign: See comment directly above yours.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 2:49 PM on October 22, 2007


Thank you for posting this, I've been complaining about the logo for about a month now.
posted by the jam at 3:27 PM on October 22, 2007


Do you think there's still enough room to stencil "Don't fucking flag me from the wrong side of the street because I'll either stop right fucking here in the middle lane or try a U-turn at 40 mph and create a traffic hazard" on it?
posted by goatdog at 4:07 PM on October 22, 2007


Anyone know what the deal is with those mosaic patterns that've been appearing on the front hoods of NYC taxis?
posted by Poolio at 4:21 PM on October 22, 2007


D'oh!

I see that my question has already been answered upthread.
posted by Poolio at 4:22 PM on October 22, 2007


Is this a thread where we hate on NY? Or do we just do that with every single thread that mentions Los Angeles? I couldn't find the answer in the wiki. Help pls kthx.

My thoughts exactly.

Apparently people feel safe spitting on LA. They're probably too scared that New Yorkers will spit right back at them, twice as hard and with precise aim.
posted by miss lynnster at 4:35 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Welcome to the official web pages of the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission...

(a) An owner of a taxicab shall [print legibly on both rear doors of such taxicab the words “NYC Taxi” and the medallion number of] apply taxicab markings approved by the Commission, specifically, two taxicab logo decals, two rate of fare decals, two medallion number decals and two checkerboard stripe decals, to such taxicab [except in the case of authorized stand-by vehicles which shall have “SBV” and the SBV number in lieu of the medallion number] at the locations described in section 1-36 of this chapter. An owner of a taxicab shall obtain the approved taxicab markings from a person or entity authorized by the Commission to print and distribute such decals. A depiction of the decals described herein and a list of persons authorized to print and distribute such decals shall be available on the Commission’s website and/or through other means determined by the Commission and announced on its website. Authorized stand-by vehicles shall display SBV number decals in lieu of the medallion number decals....
posted by R. Mutt at 4:39 PM on October 22, 2007


I suppose I should start talking shit about NYC, but I've been there and enjoyed it. Maybe I can just point out all the stereotypical shit about New York that I've seen on TV or heard in a Missing Persons song. That's what people usually do in threads about L.A.
posted by eyeballkid at 4:42 PM on October 22, 2007


Is this a thread where we hate on NY?

I totally don't see this as a dump on NYC thread. I see it as as dump on those in power who would f*ck up NYC, thread.
posted by R. Mutt at 4:47 PM on October 22, 2007


I totally don't see this as a dump on NYC thread.

Yeah, see, that's kinda the whole point he was making.
posted by miss lynnster at 5:11 PM on October 22, 2007


It's mentioned off-hand in the original article, but I'm really shocked that the MTA (or the MBTA, for that matter) didn't immediately balk at putting Boston's mass transit logo on all their cabs.
posted by coolhappysteve at 5:36 PM on October 22, 2007


I wish that New York would take some aesthetic cues from London. Everything's so nice - the typography, the cabs, the tube.

And speaking of cabs - aside from costing freakin' $50, London's cabs are the best things ever. I mean, really - building a microphone into the car so you don't have to raise your voice to talk to the cabbie? Fantastic.
posted by icosahedral at 5:56 PM on October 22, 2007


Huh, the NYC logo is designed by the same people who brought us the London 2012 logo.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 6:16 PM on October 22, 2007


If that's the case, it's alllllllll making sense now.

They must've just mixed the logos up. Kinda would've made more sense to see Lisa Simpson giving a blowjob on the side of a NYC cab.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:20 PM on October 22, 2007


Here's what I don't get. The practical utility of the exterior taxi logo is nearly zero because you'd never see it when hailing the cab. You begin hailing a cab when it's down the street and you've recognized it by the yellow paint and the lights on the roof. By the time you're in range to see it, it will have zipped right by on the street.

If the purpose was to plaster the cab with useful info, they should print the rates on the side in a huge typeface size. (Though I doubt anyone would suddenly refuse a cab due to the standard rate).
posted by junesix at 12:03 AM on October 23, 2007


coolhappysteve, the MTA does not run NYC cabs, the Taxi & Limosine Comission does. But I definitely had the same feeling when I first saw the new logo.
posted by Xoder at 12:40 PM on October 24, 2007


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