The Design Challenge
The Metro brand is a complex aesthetic. It must be authentic, first and foremost, to its community and then also to potential donors and supporters.
The Metro community is people from all walks of life, including the “vulnerable in society, the homeless, excluded and addicted”. A study done in Vancouver, BC across 124 emergency shelters shows that many people who occupy these shelters did not finish High School, suffer from mental or physical challenges, have a high degree of distress associated with shelter life and “the institution” and were concerned about the present and future. This means that Metro needs to be different that whatever “the institution” and the emergency shelter is.
In Jill Pable’s Interior Design Homeless shelter design: a psychologically recuperative approach, she notes that, generally, in order for a space to be restorative it must employ the use of curves, which are natural and welcoming, it must use colours that uplift and it must not make visitors in the space feel exposed. These two approaches have been built into the design foundation of this brand.
About the Logo
This logo is a symbol and an art piece. The main “Metro” word is lower case to appear casual and friendly and it is rendered in a hand-drawn style to reinforce what is described in The Metro Marker section previous. It is also drawn to have the symbol of a cross as the “t” in the centre of the word, literally showing Christ is at the centre of who Metro is.
About the Look
This branch of the brand should be the dominant aesthetic. It does three main things; highlights photography through the absence of colour, comes off casual and bold through the marker stroke and displays a lot of brown paper to further establish a casual, humble and welcoming feel.
Its hand-drawn, rough edges, used for mark making, organic (no perfect straight lines), associated with pop and street art. As a symbol, the marker stands for so many aspects of who Metro is. Hand-drawn and rough and the edges. Metro wasn’t established by one big, perfectly funded and smooth initiative. It has taken many many hands and many efforts of all skills levels to evolve through time. Mark making. This community is not silent. It wants to make a mark on its world. Organic (no perfect straight lines) and street art. Metro is not an institution. You don’t see huge sharpie lines across a Government passport application! You see these lines in art, on street signs, on walls where they shouldn’t be.
Brown paper and marker black is the dominant aesthetic. It does two main things; highlights photography through the absence of colour and displays a lot of brown paper. Brown paper has a lot of meaning embedded in it; it is warm, it’s a rougher and more humble material than bleached paper and can be associated with cardboard. For all these connotations it has been infused into the Metro brand.