Branding the MCard – Yorkshire’s answer to the Oyster

Our Agency has branded the MCard – a new travel smart card for West Yorkshire.

Smart Travel The journey starts here
Smart Travel The journey starts here

The scheme is operated by West Yorkshire Ticketing Company, which appointed Our Agency to the project in July last year following a four-way pitch.

The card will act as a smart-enabled Oyster-type card for the West Yorkshire region, and will be usable on buses and trains in the area. Single tickets will still be available.

MCard logo
MCard logo

Our Agency’s designs are based on the M of the region’s Metro travel operator, though other operators such as Arriva and Northern Rail will all come under the umbrella of the scheme.

Ian Winterbottom, Our Agency founder, says, ‘We did a lot of research which proved that there was about 98 per cent recall of the Metro “M” – so it seemed crazy to throw away that brand recognition.

‘We put a lot of effort into making sure that people know what it is straight away. [The design] might not be the bravest thing but it’s the best thing for the brand. It has to have longevity – we wanted to create something that wasn’t hard to understand.’

The range of MCards
The range of MCards

The consultancy created around 50 icons as secondary brand elements, each of which represents a component of an individual journey through reasons to travel, events or destinations.

Each card includes school or work icons plus leisure and social icons such as coffee cups, shopping bags, computers or musical notes – indicative of a typical journey for the user.

From B to B with M
From B to B with M

It is hoped that in future, users can design their own cards, choosing the icons most appropriate to the journey they make. There is also scope for the possibility of sponsored icons, for instance bars, cafes or retail outlets supporting their own card mark, according to Our Agency.

The first card to launch is the blue student card. A green Young Person’s card, which is available for people 16-25 years-old, is due to launch in September; with the pink annual, monthly, weekly or pay-as-you go card aiming for a late autumn launch, says Winterbottom.

The cards, which are currently available in travel centres, are set to roll out into convenience stores later this year.

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  • Damon Mahoney November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Sometimes the bravest thing to do with a brief is to be obvious. This is clear, strong branding with style. I like it a great deal.

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