Brand Identity, Naming

Brand identity and naming for the new contactless fare payment system for the MTA transit networks in NYC.

OMNY is the new contactless fare payment system for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) transit networks in New York. With OMNY, riders can wave or tap a contactless card or smart device to get onboard. The system will launch on certain bus and subway lines before being phased in throughout all MTA networks including commuter rail over the next several years.

Pentagram developed the naming and brand identity for OMNY. The name stands for One Metro New York, a reference to transportation as an essential service that connects the city and OMNY as a way to get around with one central, seamless payment system. The name is also based on the prefix “omni,” which means “all” or “of all things,” and that the MTA serves the greater New York region. Along with the name, the Pentagram team worked on messaging for OMNY that emphasizes efficiency and ease of use.

The OMNY logo features customized inline letters that suggest train and tire tracks and transportation routes. The letterforms are drawn from Helvetica, MTA’s brand typeface, and have been extended into OMNY Titling, a full custom typeface, by type designer Christian Schwartz. Taking cues from the OMNY logo, a variety of graphics can be created using parallel track lines.

Dozens of names were considered, including Pretzel, Liberty, MetroTap and TONY. Ultimately, OMNY was selected because it felt modern, all encompassing and inclusive, and featured New York’s initials. “I also liked that it had a subtle, gentle wink to ‘om’ which is a calming yoga reference,” said Sarah Meyer, the chief customer officer for the subway and bus systems, in an article about the naming process in The Wall Street Journal. 

Pentagram and strategist Audrey Francis collaborated on the project with Cubic Transportation Systems, who developed the payment technology, and Reflexions, who are designing the user experience for the mobile app and vending machines.

New York
Michael Bierut
Project team
Britt Cobb
Chantal Jahchan
Daisy Lee
Tamara McKenna
Audrey Francis, strategist
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