Monday, January 23, 2017

VTA introduces abysmal, terrible, AND horrific new logo

As regular readers know, I am usually pretty upbeat and optimistic. Unfortunately, this post will be a bit uncharacteristic of this blog... we are making a terrible mistake that will impact the region for at least the next decade. Before I get too it, let me start off by saying that I respect all the hard work the VTA has been putting in on trying to improve local transportation and later this week we will discuss some of the exciting route changes that will have a net positive impact for our city.

Switching gears, let's have a good look at the logo and slogan that will adorn hundreds (maybe thousands) of buses and light rail trains in the region. This is what will represent transportation in the most technologically advanced and innovative region in the entire world:

What... the... %@#&.

The first thing I think of when I see this logo is a Christian Fellowship. I'm Catholic and have nothing against religion, but that is not the vibe a transportation company should exude, except for perhaps a mortuary, hearse manufacturer, or ambulance company. Speaking of which, that is the second thing that comes to mind--a hospital like Good Samaritan or O'Connor. Have one more look.

Next the slogan seeps into your brain... "Solutions that move you." As Sal points out in his piece, "Solutions that move you" makes our transportation system sound like a laxative. That's right, the perception is that VTA is something that helps you go to the toilet. If you think I'm overrating, show the image below without the "Valley Transportation Authority" text to anyone that is not familiar with VTA and ask them what product they think this company produces:

To prove that this is not an early April Fools joke, here is what all of our buses will eventually look like:

Let me ask you, what about this logo represents Silicon Valley? Where do you see innovation, or diversity, or technology, or sunlight, or even transportation in this logo? I can't imagine a more vapid representation of Silicon Valley to slap on the side of our entire transit network. 

How did this happen? There were focus groups, people voted, this was a community decision. This logo is supposed to represent a peaceful ocean and sky, the white reminiscent of a seagull gliding through the air. Of course people are going to like in isolation, the logo reminds them of a vacation in a coastal town. But guess what--we are not Santa Cruz, Monterrey, or Hawaii, and we are definitely not San Francisco. Where does the ocean touch Silicon Valley? When was the last time you saw a seagull gliding through Downtown San Jose? 

This is so misguided, it's apalling. The last time the VTA changed their logo was 1998. That means we could be stuck with this aberration for the next 20 years! We have so many intelligent, creative, passionate people working in San Jose. We shouldn't settle, we can do better than this. We have accomplished so much as a region, we cannot let this be our brand.


  1. Not overly Dramatic. These may seem like small things but they all add up to
    misrepresent Metro San Jose. One more time people "San Jose remains an enigma to most of the US" why? one reason:No collective vision of what we want to represent us. for years our own civic leadership shunned the Silicon Valley/Technology theme (see SJPD logo design, SJC naming failure, Convention center naming failure, ect...
    Yes, that Logo is too whimsical (and Healthcare-like) to represent the Capitol of Silicon Valley region it needs to be more progressive and hi-tech.

  2. Totally agree, a bizarre logo that looks like something for a hospital. When I first saw it I thought the VA hospital. Doesn't represent our region at ALL.

  3. I really love it, I am excited to see it in the "wild". I think your post is a bit to opinionated even for a personal blog. Perhaps a poll would have been more appropriate. Good job VTA.

  4. I tend to agree with the others here about the overreaction. It's certainly not great, but it's not terrible. I'm just glad they didn't go with some chip or circuit board motif which is what most people think of when they think "high tech." The colors are more San Jose now, there's a fun use of negative space, vertical and horizontal symmetry, and the waviness and rounded corners suggests movement and friendliness. And branding is not necessarily, and for the most part should not be, a community decision.

    I would love to hear Armin's critique. (

  5. I agree with you for sure! The logo definitely looks like a hospital logo. I'm sure we could come up with something better than that in Silicon Valley!

  6. Lived here all of my life 30+ years and I agree. It doesn't reflect the area they are servicing. And it does sound like a laxative campaign. At least get some red in there to have come continuity for what we have right now. smh

  7. I agree. The logo is very bland and doesn't encompass at all of what this city is about. Honestly, this can be used for any other city and doesn't show any unique-ness at all.

  8. Dated logo with a 70's color palette that strangely reminds me of a hospital logo you might see in Santa Cruz or San Diego. I would have used bold colors and a visual image and message centered on action and getting busy people places more quickly. More upbeat and sharp.