The updated identity is being applied to train livery, communications, websites and stations across the network, including the Haymarket station in Newcastle, which is currently being refurbished and is set to complete this summer.
The work is part of a £300m capital investment programme from Nexus, the Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive, which will see the Metro system overhauled in the next seven to nine years.
Gardiner Richardson was appointed following a pitch in September 2007, according to director Darren Richardson.
The consultancy had previously worked on the Metro’s All Change programme, which highlighted the capital investment programme, and created a character, Ken, which features in customer-facing communications.
Richardson says, ‘Nexus was looking for a consultancy to help it evolve the Metro brand. As well as investing in bricks and mortar, it wanted to reflect the vision it had to portray a 21st-century transport system.
‘The marque had also been a bit mistreated and it needed some care and attention to create more elegance and sophistication. It sounds like a major change, but in reality it’s a minor modification of the Metro icon – if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.’
Andy Bairstow, communications and support services director for Nexus, says, ‘We asked Gardiner Richardson to look at the weaknesses and strengths of the brand and give it back a sense of confidence.’
The new identity retains the Calvert font, created specifically for the original Metro logo by type designer Margaret Calvert, and keeps the three corporate colours and the bar device.
The identity’s first capital application will be at the Haymarket station (pictured left), which is being designed by architect Reid Jubb Brown, and will feature a commission called Canon by artist Lothar Goetz.
Richardson says, ‘It’s uncommon to start with a big capital application. It meant that design decisions had to be made six or seven months in advance because of the timescale for designing the station.’
The next station to undergo a facelift will be Sunderland, which is set to reopen in February next year, and the identity will be applied to train liveries during the summer.
Bairstow says that, following the Metro work, Gardiner Richardson’s brand guidelines will be applied to Nexus’ other branded transport networks – ferry, bus and rail – to maintain consistency.
THE METRO SYSTEM
- Opened in 1980
- Comprises 60 underground and overground stations
- Serves Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland, North Tyneside and South Tyneside
- Is used by more than 40 million passengers a year