What other brands can learn from the MTA
Design truly has the ability to spark behavior change, “I believe in it, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it,” Joe says.
Visual identity systems are powerful tools establishing relevancy, building credibility, and normalizing change. Design has the power to communicate powerful messages without needing to speak a word.
When asked how the MTA was so effective, even in the midst of a rapidly changing situation, Joe told me, “we were flexible, but stayed true to our guiding principles.” This is a lesson that any organization or brand can learn from— it’s about focus. Having a strategic goal and a clear brief at the core of design is key to effective design work that can endure change.
Joe goes on to explain how it worked for them, “what you say no to is as important as what you say yes to. So, knowing early on what our guiding principles were, gave us a good framework —we wanted to be useful, we didn’t want to be scary, we wanted to be clear and simple— that helped us keep it consistent, even as we expanded into areas we never thought we would go. We never imagined at the beginning of 2020 that we would be creating floor decals!”
“My mantra for my team,” he continues, “is that we do two things: we do story telling, and we do problem solving; and often times, we do both. In everything we create, we aim to be useful, be respectful, and if we can be clever or entertaining, that’s even better! But, above all, we think about the people. We really think about them, and how to meet even the toughest sceptic where they are. We work for the people of New York.”
Joe and his in-house design team were led by Steve Moverley, who created all of the eye-catching illustrations for this campaign. “It’s been a privilege working on something like this and knowing that things I’ve designed may have made someone’s day a little more bright, or a little less scary,” Steve adds. Joe, his creative team, and the entire team of essential public transit workers at the MTA have done an incredible service for our city as the pandemic continues. They’ve contributed, in no small measure, to the ‘new normal’ of New York, and will be there to get us on our way.
In the meantime, they will be there to make us smile. Did you know that there are 12 different mystery footprints hidden around the city? Personally, I know I’ll be wearing a mask, and collecting them all!