Nick Adam
Naming and visual brand identity for Divvy, Chicago’s bike share system

Design Studio



City of Chicago
Chicago Department of Transportation
Motivate (FKA Alta)


Civic, Government, Transportation

Research, Strategy, Naming, Branding, Print, Interactive


Nick Adam
Research, Strategy, Concept, Design Direction, Design, Naming

Dawn Hancock

Will Miller
Design Direction, Design

Ohn Ho

Greg Calvert

Project Partners

Research, Strategy

Sara Frisk
Research, Strategy

David Berthy

Adam Geremia

As Chicago received federal funds to create a citywide bike-sharing service, a name and visual identity was needed to possition Chicago’s newest transportation system. Across three months I worked with IDEO at Firebelly to conduct research, create a name, and design a complete visual identity for the City of Chicago.

Our research include three rounds of public intercepts, where we hit the streets, visiting CTA stations to speak with commuters about their thoughts on biking in the city. We quickly found that these would-be riders had simialr values: safety, convenience, spontaneity and joy.

After 100’s of naming ideas, Divvy was selected as it spoke to the shared economy, was concise and memorable, and it easily could be both a proper noun and a verb — Today, I divvied to work.

Once we had a name, we designed a custom, monospace logotype with a special double-V ligature. Typographicly this glyph is known as a guillemet and is used to indicate motion — it is also a globally recognized street symbol, called a sharrow, used to mark roads that are shared with cars and bicycles. Nodding to Chicago’s infamous grid each letter is built using right angles. To soften and smooth out the edges we detailed the letters with geometric curves. Grilli Type’s GT Pressura was selected to 

While the blue of Chicago’s flag is traditionaly much lighter, we selected Pantone 298c as color that relates to Chicagoness while being vibrant enough to increase riders visiblity. 

The system includes a customized version of Chicago’s iconic six-pointed stars, set of system icons and a comprehensive brand standards guide covering over 40 touchpoints, from bicycles and vans to docking stations  and apparel.

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 

CHGO DSGN Exhibition

Nick Adam, Design Director 
and Associate Partner at Span.Studio

New business inquiries

Chicago, South Side 
Kenwood Neighborhood

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Nick Adam’s Complete CV