Marked on streets across the world, the double arrow symbolizes the shared use of lanes between bicyclists and motorists. Embedded with the stacked double-v ligature, the Divvy logotype becomes an iconic symbol for the transportation system, graphically representing safety, movement, and sharing.
Chicago’s efforts to build an increasingly effective, pedestrian-friendly transportation system included the creation of a city-wide bike share program. The brief was for IDEO to collaborate with Firebelly in creating a name, developing a visual identity, gaining consensus across the Mayor and top city officials.
I worked with IDEO in structuring and conducting the research, and at Firebelly I lead the direction and execution of the visual identity design, system and graphic standard manual. The guide comprise 40+ touch-points (bikes, stations, vans, stationery, event environments, uniforms, website, and so forth) each to be designed, rationalized, revised, and set up for production.
Naming the bicycle system ‘Divvy’ allowed us to emphasize a culture of sharing. The double-V ligature, is based on the guillemet, or angled quotes. This glyph is often taken out of literary context to indicate direction and motion. Marked on streets across the world, this double arrow symbolizes the shared use of lanes between bicyclists and motorists. 
The logotype itself is custom, inspired by monospaced forms that share a common width to define themselves. This is akin to people defining themselves in the common widths of the road corresponding to their mode of transportation. Constructed with right angles and geometric curves, the identity is built upon the same grid that defines Chicago’s roads.
To soften the sharpness of the characters, all edges have a slightly rounded curve likened to a smooth ride of the cruiser-style bicycle. Together, the weight of each character and their rounded ends offer a trusted utilitarian look that feels part of the city vernacular. The logotype is comfortable within its urban environment.
Client
The City of Chicago, Motivate (fka Alta)
Studio
Firebelly, IDEO
Team
Dawn Hacock, Strategy
Nick Adam, Design Strategy Research, Design Direction, Design
Will Miller, Design Direction, Design
Ohn Ho, Design
Greg Calvert, Design
Partner Team
IDEO —
Sara Frisk, Strategy, Research
David Berthy, Strategy, Research
Adam Geremia
Awards and recognition
Fast Company, Innovation By Design Awards Finalist
Society of Typographic Arts, Best in Show
Apple Store Lincoln Park, Keynote Lecture
Brand New, Best Reviewed
Brand New, Brand New Conference
CHGO DSGN Exhibition

Photo © Saverio Truglia

In transportation vernacular, the stacked double-V marking is known as ’sharrow’ as in sharing — Photo © Saverio Truglia

Photo © Saverio Truglia

Photo © Saverio Truglia

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From the design process

Stacking repeating letters be found in the Proto-Sinaitic and hieroglyphic visual languages. 

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