Freelance brands Manchester water taxi service

Manchester-based freelance designer Dave Sedgwick is creating the branding for a new water taxi service for the city.

Steven Caldwell, the entrepreneur behind Manchester Water Taxis, appointed Sedgwick about six months ago without a pitch.

Caldwell briefed the designer to ‘come up with a branding concept that recalls New York taxis, but with a friendly twist’, says Sedgwick, adding that his solution also makes a reference to taxi cabs’ illuminated signs.

Sedgwick has completed the brand identity and a holding website, and is currently working on stationery, marketing materials and a website that will appear in the run-up to the taxi service’s launch in December 2010.

Caldwell, who is seeking more funding for the venture, is currently purchasing a fleet of water taxis, for which Sedgewick will design a livery.

The water taxis are intended to offer commuters an alternative to the Metrolink once Media City UK opens in Salford in 2011. They will stop at Manchester Victoria, Spinningfields, Exchange Key, Media City and the Trafford Centre.

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  • paul crowley November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Not sure about this. It’s a witty(ish) visual reference sure. But does it engage with the public and demonstrate what the service is or could be? Not much more that a flat visual pun.

  • Marc Swarbrick November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Would I be right in thinking that the lines cut through the lettering are a reference to the canals cutting through Manchester? It’s not the worst concept but I think it could have been developed a bit further. Call me traditional but I’d like to have seen it in a nice blue that would give him a ‘twist’ on New York cabs and also reference the mode of transport.

  • Dave Sedgwick November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Fair points Paul. But at present you’re only really seeing the logo in isolation. It needs to be bold and clear and work at a variety of sizes. It also needs to be a little unique but without missing any of the general public. It needs development of course and like all identities, the logo itself is simply a small part of the overall picture.

  • Dave Sedgwick November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    There was certainly supposed to be some reference to the lines cutting through. This will all become clearer once the advertising is done later this year. I originally went with blue, but the client was keen to push forward the yellow and black.

  • Reflect November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Too many letters! Word Manchester to the left like sign on the road…

  • Simon Taylor November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I think this might be a first-thing-you-thought-of brief. I know it’s not really the point but why does the client think New York cabs are relevant to travelling by boat in Manchester?

  • David Sedgwick November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Hi Simon, i’m guessing you want an answer due to the question mark! But without getting too defensive, you’re probably right.

    There’s not too much correlation between New York cabs and indeed boats in Manchester. However, we kind of felt that as the brand developed, we could do more effective and eye catching design using simply black and yellow as opposed to any others colours (which were discussed to be honest) At present this is simply a stand alone logo and not an identity, which will of course develop as and when funding becomes available. I can assure you however, that this wasn’t the first thing we thought of and in fact many other suggestions were dismissed due to a number of reasons.

    In response to Reflect, I don’t fully understand your comment. But in future I’ll do my best to make sure I only design logos that have a maximum of 4 letters. BT and BP are in need of a rebrand me thinks!

  • Paul November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Hi David, I like the design, I don’t think I mentioned this in my comment above… and I’m sure there’s been many iterations with the client too.

  • Manchester Water Taxis November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Hi Simon in reference to your comment about New York taxis cabs I had to give careful consideration not to alienate half the City by choosing red or blue for the boats. A neutral colour would have worked but I really want the boats to stand out therefore I opted for PANTONE 14-0848 Mimosa

    The reason being is that Mimosa, Pantones colour of the year for 2009 embodies hopefulness and reassurance in a climate of change which I thought was a great fit with our company trying to launch during a period of recession

  • Manchester Water Taxis November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Hi Simon the reason I went for a New York styled cab is that I didn’t want to alienate have the City by painting them red or blue.

    I could have gone for a neutral colour but I really wanted them to stand out.

    Also the colour I’ve gone for is PANTONE 14-0848 Mimosa Pantones Color of the Year for 2009. Mimosa embodies hopefulness and reassurance in a climate of change which I thought was a great fit with a brand trying to launch during a period of recession. Hope this helps

  • Dave Sedgwick November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    The comment above is from the client! Just in case anyone thought I was writing as a pseudonym!

    Love the alienate line though! Why didn’t I think of that?!

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