Penn Station in New York doesn't have the best reputation among the city's commuters: so much so that there have been numerous plans to "fix" it over the years, as ranked by New York magazine.
Now, NY agency Watson & Company has led the branding design and experience for Penn Station extension Moynihan Train Hall, billed as "New York's most significant civic infrastructure project in decades". The project is a public-private partnership led by New York State and managed by Empire State Development.
The agency looked to ground its campaign in a "sense of place and history around the building" by referencing the James A. Farley Post Office building's 100+ year existence, using the idea of 'A Love Letter to New York' to underpin the entire concept.
It was vital to create a memorable brand identity. So W&CO decided that rather than viewing the project as a "civic infrastructure challenge", it would reimagine the train hall as "playing host to all of NYC's worldly visitors". As such, the brand aims to be warm, welcoming and uplifting.
The concept also looked to embody New York's past, present, and future in Moynihan Train Hall's brand messaging. "Its voice is contemporary and intelligent, a New Yorker speaking to the city with self-awareness, honesty, humour, and wit," says W&CO.
The primary brand mark takes the form of an abstracted eagle image, inspired by "the meeting points and connection of people around the station". It's also a nod to the USPS logo, recalling that the Moynihan Train Hall now stands on the former Farley Post Office building. Therefore, the secondary brand mark was inspired by the traditional form of the postage stamp, reinforcing the idea of human connection.
The designs are used across all touchpoints, including interior and exterior station signage. The team worked closely with Empire State Development, the State of New York, and Vornado Realty Trust to incorporate the branding into the infrastructure of the building itself. This includes the placement of a "sophisticated, inlaid seal inspired by the history of Farley Post Office, at the bottom of the Moynihan Train Hall's Grand Staircase," say the designers.