Washington State Ferries Rebrand

Branding and Visual Identity

A brand refresh that brings Washington State Ferries, an iconic Northwest institution, into the 21st century, focusing on the experience of water transportation as well as renewed reliability.

Problem

Washington State Ferries has been providing safe and efficient service linking communities throughout the Puget Sound region since 1951. It is an iconic part of the Northwest, but a focus on an aging fleet and service delays by the media has created a lackluster reputation.

Solution

This brand refresh modernizes WSF while emphasizing its reliable service and unique offerings. I took inspiration from nostalgic and warm imagery, maps, and vintage signage to create an identity that feels relaxed and trustworthy, and that can stand the test of time.

Client

WSF - Concept

Project Duration

11 weeks

My Role

Logo design, Branding, Layout

Tools

Adobe Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop; Rhinoceros

Ferry Tickets and Schedule

Business Cards

Print Advertisement

Website and Mobile App

Brand Guidelines

Ferry

Process

I started the process by researching WSF. I conducted user interviews with current employees and riders as well as reviewed WSF’s rider reports and statistics.

Research Takeaways

  • Strengths: safety, timeliness, affordability and expertise
  • Weaknesses: a damaged public perception and funding that falls short of service expectations
  • Missed opportunity: WSF should be communicating a message of pride. Washington residents and WSF employees should feel proud of their ferry system and how it acts as a lifeline to so many people.
  • Audience: Commuters make up a majority of WSF’s ridership. Most riders are between the ages of 35 to 65 and ridership overall is aging, prompting the need to attract the next generation of riders, specifically millennials.

Capturing the brand’s identity

After doing my individual research on WSF I worked in a group to dive further into brand positioning through a series of branding exercises. From this, the brand pillars were born and I was able to start concepting the visual aspects of the identity.

Logo Creation

A brand’s logo is very important as it serves as the face of the brand and provides easy recognition and assurance to customers. I chose a design that best reflected the relaxed, approachable, and steady qualities of the Ferries and ferry-riding experience.

Sketches

Final Logo

I chose Gill Sans as the primary typeface because it is warm and open, and conveys a look that is clean, modern and classic.

The color palette was inspired by the colors of the Puget Sound and surrounding scenery. It includes soft blues paired with white and off-white to maintain a sense of lightness and calm, as well as secondary colors that expand into green and teal hues.

Brand Guidelines