Quickly producing an identity for disenfranchised taxi drivers
Scotland Cabs was created in July 2022 by a group of Edinburgh taxi drivers following a union dispute with a monopolistic taxi service from the area, which resulted in the decision to set up their own pre-booked taxi service. The group’s aim is to offer their services in Edinburgh, before expanding to Glasgow, then north of Scotland, and finally to the south of Scotland.
RoleBranding design, Logo design, Web development
My task was twofold. The first was to give an identity to the group by giving them a company name, producing the logo, and setting up the foundations for a brand. The second task was to produce the front and backend of the website.
There were two constraints, with the first being a limited budget for digital services. More pertinent was a go-live date of 29th July 2022, one week before the start of Edinburgh Fringe Festival. This festival, along with Hogmanay, is the most lucrative period for taxi services and it was crucial everything launched by this date. I was approached 4th of July, giving a project time of 25 days.
Phase 1 – Finding a name
The first step was to give the group a name (needed to get the design process started). None of the names previously suggested were accepted by the group, with most being variations of ‘Edinburgh + Taxi’ or ‘A1 taxis’.
The group leader said that the naming criteria was it had to include the word ‘taxi’ or a synonym (as they would expect quite a few oversea customers) and available as a website domain - with this I presented the following options:
From a straw poll ScotlandCabs.com came out on top.
Phase 2 – Logo development and brand foundation
To begin the logo development, I researched the current Scottish taxi service market. I found logos mostly fell into two camps – the first was a wordmark being used (normally typeset in a Serif font across two lines), and the second was a brandmark composed of a taxi symbol.Colour wise the majority used were yellow or black.
Competitor wise the market was split into two variants – local businesses or Uber style companies (with contract employees).
I suggested to the group that to stand out and come across as professional, we should go for a ‘techy’ modern feel and have differentiated, bright, exciting colours. The main thinking was that users were likely to book on their mobile devices and having a good-looking, slick, mobile friendly site was important.
For this reason, I chose a navy foundation with the heavy lifting handled by a papaya orange and sandy yellow.
For the logo we all felt using a taxi symbol would be too cliched and producing a lone wordmark would not be memorable.
I researched what tourist attractions there are in Scotland, and as almost all of them were landmarks, they could not be used as inspiration for a transport company, especially as they might not be recognisable to overseas customers.
I suggested we use the Loch Ness monster as our inspiration. The myth is popular across all of Scotland, and fairly well known around the world, and a bonus with it being a ‘moving/living entity’ helping link it to transport.
To help keep costs down, for the typography I provided a few options from the open source Google Font library, and we settled on Space Mono as a heading typeface, and Montserrat as the body typeface.
Space Mono was chosen due to the slightly ‘Jetsons’ sci-fi appearance and how the descenders were angular (rather than rounded), all of which gave a space-age, techy appearance.
Montserrat was chosen due to its excellent legibility (especially at small sizes) and relatively large font family.
Using these foundations the construction of the brandmark could begin.
The wordmark would be a simple left-aligned, two-line lockup of ‘Scotland Cabs’, with a secondary lockup having the wordmark centred across one line.
The wordmark was slightly customised by having the ‘C’ in ‘Cabs’ more angular, reflecting the construction of the ‘t’ and ‘l’. This was done so the two words seem cohesive and the rhythm and bounce from the ‘d’ in ‘Scotland’ to the ‘C’ in ‘Cabs’ is more uniform and pleasant. The change was also done to help inform the brandmark.
For the brandmark, the first decision was to show the monster partially submerged in water (as otherwise it would look like a giant snake). I then decided to make the construction as abstract, and as ‘basic’, as possible so it would fit in with the sci-fi appearance (for example, it wouldn’t look out of place on a command-prompt terminal screen).
Lastly, the construction of its body would be from the letters of the wordmark. So, the head is a partially submerged ‘S’, the hump is a rotated and submerged ‘C’, and it’s tail is the ascender of the ‘L’.
To further the monster association I animated the logo reveal so it appears as if it is coming out of water.
Phase 3 – Website development
The website was based on WordPress and constructed using the Elementor, Woocommerce, QuickCab and a few other plugins.
A basic structure of homepage, vehicle page, drivers page, account page, and support page were created. Services and platforms were setup to enable functionality of the forms, uploading or data, and processing of payments.
The colours and fonts selected previously helped bring the site to life and to give it the personality needed. Stock images of a few vehicle types were procured and then stylised into the Scotland Cabs brand to give a sense of ownership and distinction.
A sizzle reel video was produced that captures the landscape of Scotland (rural and urban) as well as some key tenets of the company. I produced this by obtaining stock footage which was then edited, colour graded, and had motion graphics applied in After Effects and Premiere Pro.
Results + In action
The website was successfully launched 27th July 2022, well within the deadline, with the first booking taken on the 30th July 2022. The website is fully responsive and works well across all platforms, with the booking process being easy and convenient for riders and drivers.
Anecdotal evidence has shown a positive reaction to the design, with particular praise for the logo, with comments calling it ‘cute’, ‘aye I get it’ and ‘it stands out from others’.
The company has also produced two items of low-cost merchandise, a keychain and a set of stickers, to help launch promotion of the business.
The company plans to expand its offering across Scotland, as well increasing the driver staff it employs. During this incremental expansion it would also like to promote itself heavily overseas.
Preliminary talks have taken place on an advertising/social media campaign centred on the attractions around Scotland and how Scotland Cabs gets you ‘from there, to here’.
More information will be announced as made available.