CIE - The Irish Transport Authority
My challenge was to undo the previous ten years of brand fragmentation where the operating companies that make up the CIE Group had moved away from the holding company brand and developed unique identities of their own. The first step was to modernize the CIE symbol (right). Public opinion about public transport had grown increasingly negative over the decades and in particular in the 1980's and early 1990's when the Irish government just had no money to invest in improving the public's experience of transit. So the newly won European funding provided a unique opportunity to create greater integration between the bus, rail and light rail systems operating around the country, with the goal of creating a truly seamless journey and a lasting legacy of design thinking for the future.
In the new identity, uniform elements of color, type and symbol join all the public transport services within the national system. The city bus systems, light rail, national bus and heavy rail services all communicate to the customer in a single tone of voice, making it a simple and inviting system for the passenger to use. All CIE communication vehicles were re-designed including passenger information, vehicle livery, Website, financial communications such as the annual reports (left), and in particular the station
signage for over 100 train and light rail stations around the country.
I provided detailed specifications to the group architects to implement the new signage (right). Because the Irish government actively preserve the Irish language, all station signs appear in both Irish and English.
This is one of the most unique aspects to the CIE Group Identity. I realized early on in the project that the best way to solve the problem of the two languages and a great way to unify all the operating companies in a subtle way was to design a custom typeface. The result was Ireland's first custom corporate typeface, CIE 2000. My old friend and long-time creative partner Tony Fahy provided the guiding hand for this important aspect of the project.
The new typeface brings in a common tone of voice across the group, so that when passengers were making the change from one transport system to another, the thread of communication remains unbroken. Take a look at the range of signs shown here all using the CIE 2000 typeface.
Finally, I designed and wrote and extensive series of brand guides, eight booklets in all. The guidelines cover applications of every element within the brand identity and in particular, the use of the global symbol for interchange: the CIE Group Sunwheel.