We love Chicago—the place, the people, the get-it-done attitude. So of course we were thrilled when IDEO wanted to partner with us to name and brand Chicago’s newest transportation system, a city-wide bike sharing program.
We had just three months(!) to develop a complete brand and visual identity forDivvy Bikes, but with all hands on deck, we completed the intensive research and design process on time and in style.
Research & Naming
After early brainstorming sessions, we hit the streets with 26 potential names, visiting CTA stations to poll commuters about their thoughts on biking in the city. We quickly found that Chicagoans and tourists, seasoned cyclists and newbies alike valued many of the same things: safety, convenience, spontaneity and joy. These conversations also helped us narrow down our list to five names.
Eventually, inevitably, we arrived at Divvy—it's concise, memorable and downright fun to say, an easy addition to our city's vernacular.
Brand & Identity
With a name approved, we began designing the identity system, starting with the logo. Given what we learned from our initial research, we knew the Divvy brand had to feel practical yet fun, safe yet stylish, and undeniably Chicago.
We developed a custom logotype around the double-V ligature, a typographic glyph used to indicate motion, and—wouldn’t you know it—a street symbol used worldwide to demarcate bike lanes. Each letter is built using right angles and geometric curves, a nod to Chicago’s infamous grid, though we did soften and smooth out the edges. The logotype alone conveys comfort and familiarity, but the system as a whole takes Divvy to a new level of urban distinction.
Though Chicago blue comes in a range of hues, Pantone 298c was the perfect shade—vibrant and visible even at night. We also incorporated a row of the city's iconic six-pointed stars, modified to match the system's geometry.
Finally, we created an uber-intuitive set of system icons and a comprehensive brand standards guide covering over 40 touchpoints, from bikes and docking stations to apparel and web.
Within three weeks, Divvy was the busiest bike share in the world. Launched with 750 bikes at 75 stations, by 2015, Chicago had 4,760 bikes at 476 stations. Divvy now lives across the city, a part of our cultural fabric. It’s democratic, engaging and empowering, paving the way for new riders every day.