New NYC Taxi Logo Design Sucks

The New York Times City Room blog has invited eight designers to critique the new look for NYC Taxis (and offer alternatives). The overwhelming opinion is that the logo chosen for the cabs totally sucks, and there are dozens of comments on each post to this effect. I strongly agree with the majority.

While the logo may (or may not) be an improvement over the original look (more of a non-look, I suppose), it still sucks from a lot of different perspectives.

Among the valid criticisms:
  • The T inside a circle is confusing and stupid. It is extremely similar to the T symbol used by Massachusetts’ transportation agency. It will also conflict with the symbol used for the Second Avenue subway line (which will be the T) when that finally gets built.

  • The new NYC logo (introduced semi-recently) looks bad on its own, and even worse on the side of a taxi. Designing the rest of the taxi logo to match this is unfortunate. There’s no compelling reason that it must be on the cars - I think we know this is New York - and it just makes the whole thing look rather clunky and unwieldy.

  • It’s impossible to read this when the cab is moving. I refuse to believe that a single person in the process ever asked the question, “What is the reason for this logo?” Had they done that, I think we would’ve seen something more legible, or at the very least - if they decided that the point wasn’t to make it legible, but rather simply for branding - far bolder and more risk-taking. Besides, when people look for cabs in traffic, they’re usually looking for a) the light box on the roof of the car or b) a yellow car. No one I know is standing at an intersection waiting for cars to stop so they can read whatever sign might be on the side. I won’t get into the inanity of including super-small-type fares on the doors, but that’s stupid, too.

  • The letter-spacing is just atrocious. It’s easy to mistakenly read the logo as “NYC T AXI,” or even miss the T altogether.
Clearly, this is a design that suffered (as all are wont to do) from the involvement of a committee (in this case, probably several). City Room takes a nice look at the various “Bumps” in the life of the design. To me, the concept was flawed from the beginning, but each iteration brought more issues, until what was at last decided-upon is just awful, has no personality, and is a gratuitous addition to the already-iconic NYC Yellow Taxis that will likely end up having a short shelf-life. If there is a God, that is.

Some pictures for comparison:

The Old

The New

Oooh. So awesome. Love the checkers! Not.

via the inestimable Kottke, by the way.