Teed-Off Taxi

Last week, the axi“ in “Taxi” disappeared from New York cabs. Funny, in September rates go up 30 percent, and now they’ve taken our “axi” away. It took a long time to become reconciled to that circular T and bold “axi,” and now its gone. What a ripoff.

The new logo derived from the “Taxi of Tomorrow” Nissan prototype with the firm Smart Design. The pared-down design also rejects the stream of checkerboard shapes that was a reference to the grand old, long obsolete Checker cab.

Taxi and Limousine Commission chairman David S. Yassky, who you can see on cautionary commercials warning against taking gypsy cabs, said he would miss the checks. “Call us old-timers, but I liked the historical reference,” he told The New York Times. “However, the design professionals felt unanimously that the clutter didn’t justify whatever meaning was in there.”

I disagree! The city is about clutter, and the checks were a New York accent. The Times also noted, “The new design is a vindication of the work done five years ago by Davin Stowell and his colleagues at Smart Design. They proposed a large T, unmodified by “axi.” At the time, Mr. Stowell said: ‘Everybody knows what it is. You don’t need the words.’” We don’t need the increase in fare either, but we’re getting that! With communications becoming so abbreviated, the T may tell the tale, but the “axi” gave it an anchor.

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For more on logo design, check out Jim Krause’s The Logo Brainstorm Book, now on sale at MyDesignShop.com.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. If a product or service is known for it’s unique design than simplifying it will ovisously have an obviously negative impact. Especially if it’s been the same for years. It seems like this is happening more and more, and unfortunately it just doesn’t work for everything. Not everybody can be a Nike “swoosh” and get away with it.

  2. I must respectfully disagree with Stephen Heller here. I never liked the previous logo with the AXI. It was off balance, with the NYC on the let and the AXI on the right of the big T in the circle, it wasn’t symmetrical, and always looked lIke it was going to fall over. The new logo is definitely an improvement.

  3. I’m a designer who’s often explaining and defending our worth to laypeople, and so why do I flinch when I read about some prestigious design firm with high-minded lingo and ideals taking something this on? Maybe because of the new(ish) subway cars that were clearly laid out by someone who’d never taken a subway? Or the Highline that’s so over-designed and -planted that the various bottlenecks make it as pleasant as filing out of Madison Square Garden after a Knicks game?
    That said, all will be forgiven if I can actually sit with my legs perpendicular to my torso in the new cabs. Mind you, I’m barely 5’10″ and yet in most cabs I’ve taken recently I’ve had to sit at a diagonal unless I wanted to lick my own knees. One thing about the old Checkers, or the Crown Vics for that matter (presumably designed by an anonymous person or team in Detroit) was that they were more comfortable than the bus. This is no longer the case.

  4. With this kind of”simplification” often comes irretrievable loss: taxis are a great example. Once upon a time, (until the 70′s?) all our taxis had the names of their individual cab companies — often with a fanciful logo — emblazoned on their sides, every cab a rolling yellow canvas for a haiku and a piece of folk art. NY lost enormous character when that was legislated away. “Scull’s Angels,” and a thousand others, from ‘Mom’s Cab Co.” to sly puns. Why? Some soulless somebody thought it was an improvement. Phooey!