New NYC Taxi Logos Nix The ‘Axi,’ And Sometimes The Checks


As mentioned earlier this month, New Yorkers and tourists in the Big Apple will soon be seeing some new taxi cabs on the street. Unlike the older new taxi cabs unveiled a few years ago, the new models will no longer include fare information on the door — which is fine, because no one even noticed it, anyway — and have replaced the old "taxi" logo with a simple "T."

The New York Times gives us the scoop, and the internal debate over the taxi's oldest design flair: the checkers.

The new logo emerged from work being done on the “Taxi of Tomorrow” Nissan prototype with the firm Smart Design, which was (somewhat) responsible for the current logo.

Specifications for the new pared-down design call for eliminating the trailing stream of checkerboard shapes that were intended as a reference to the celebrated Checker cab of yesteryear. In this, [Taxi and Limousine Commission chairman David S.] Yassky confessed ambivalence.

“Call us old-timers, but I liked the historical reference,” he said. “However, the design professionals felt unanimously that the clutter didn’t justify whatever meaning was in there.” (Not to worry, Mr. Yassky. City Room spotted six cabs with new decals in the space of a half-hour on Tuesday. Two still had checkerboards.)

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.

There was some worry that using a 'T' will create confusion once the Second Avenue 'T' subway line opens, but Mr. Yasky pointed out: "Nobody will confuse a yellow car with a 75-foot-long train car that runs underground."


  1. Buster says

    So – there really are people who make their living discussing whether or not to include the “axi” on a taxi?

    It’s not that I’m anti-design. But, given what I understand of bureaucracy, I’m betting that this little decision involved at one time or another, dozens of people in multiple meetings, making use of numerous poster boards and projection screens and hundreds of photocopied memos. In fact, I’ll bet they even conducted consumer surveys that included questions about “T” vs. “Taxi” thereby involving more people and more money and more reports about the reports that reported the survey results!

    Or, at a considerably reduced cost, they could have just kept the word “taxi” intact. Cause, when it comes right down to it – there isn’t really much difference – except about how much money got spent.

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