Capital Metro spends thousands on brand overhaul, removes Texas Capitol dome from logo
Capital Metro is spending tens of thousands of dollars to redesign the logo that appears on everything from buses and trains to uniforms and trash cans.
"We believe that CapMetro is what our community calls us," Executive Vice President Brian Carter told the agency's board members when unveiling the new logo. "We want to embrace that and just become who we already are."
The current logo shows an icon of the Texas Capitol dome followed by the word "Metro." The new logo is a wordmark, a term for a logo made of only letters, that spells the word "CapMetro."
Capital Metro is "refreshing" its brand ahead of the single largest expenditure on public transit in the agency's history. The $7.1 billion expansion of public transit known as Project Connect includes the procurement of light-rail vehicles and electric buses along with the construction of new bus stops and train stations.
"This is an opportune time as we're about to put a lot more investment into our system," Carter told the agency's Customer Satisfaction Committee this month. Some final tweaks to the design could happen by the end of the year.
The cost of the brand refresh was $182,675, Capital Metro said. The market research firm Sherry Matthews Group and branding agency Asterisk were hired to work on the project.
Capital Metro has budgeted an additional $225,000 for branding efforts in fiscal year 2022. The agency has a $658 million annual budget, almost half of which is funded by a 1% sales tax.
The cost of redesigning of transit agency's brand does not include the expenses associated with replacing the logo on Capital Metro's vehicles, uniforms, bus stops, signs and even trash cans. Replacing the logos will be done gradually and take between five and 10 years.
But transit riders getting off the bus at the South Park Meadows Station were mostly unimpressed with the new wordmark.
"I don't know if it was necessary. Does it matter? I don't know," Ariel Kelly said.
"I like the old one," Dasia Davila said, adding she preferred the presence of the Capitol dome. "I think it looks better."
She's not alone.
At least two members of Capital Metro's Board of Directors — Austin City Council Member Pio Renteria and board secretary Eric Stratton — shared reservations about removing the dome symbol.
"The one thing I will say I miss that has been really kind of cool, that I thought distinguished us to a little bit of an extent, is the Capitol," Stratton said. "Because we are CapMetro. We are the capital, the capital city."
"[The dome] is very distinguished," Renteria said.
But Capital Metro says feedback solicited from customers indicated the dome wasn't relevant to many riders.
"We're more than the state capital," Capital Metro CEO Randy Clarke said.
Among the first places transit riders will see the new brand is on the uniforms of frontline employees. The Capital Metro board voted last week to spend up to $1.8 million over three years to buy uniforms from CFJ Manufacturing.
New branding elements will begin to appear on the website and social media in March. Beyond that, no public timetable for the brand rollout has been released.