Challenge Accepted: The perfect bus stop sign

When the Rheinbahn presented its new bus stop signs in spring 2016, this led to a public discussion about design. The new signs frustrated passengers because they were difficult to read and complicated. “Is there a magnifying glass for the new signs?” Twitter said. The trade blog Design Diary and numerous newspapers reported.

Bus stop signs are among those design objects that only attract attention when they do not work. We use dozens of sources of information and objects every day without perceiving their design – unless they make life difficult for us.

A bus stop sign that doesn’t work? That sounded like an irresistible challenge for Linus Luka Bahun. In a one-day workshop we developed designs, built prototypes and tested readability and function on our own. Three basic considerations were at the forefront. The signs should…

→ can act as landmarks from a distance,

→ provide relevant service information for passengers at the stop and

→ implicitly and unobtrusively communicate the Rheinbahn brand.

This was compounded by the fact that the Rheinbahn staff responsible had already ordered several hundred aluminium frames for the stop signs. This meant that the size of the information boards could not be adapted to the amount of information they represented. Rather, all signs were the same size.

Based on these thoughts, we developed a content flexible design that can display all relevant information. The hierarchization of information became particularly important, because it quickly became clear in the self-experiment: through good information structuring, we can save passengers time for decisions and save stress when travelling.

Our first suggestion for the redesign of the newly designed signs already shows that good design can facilitate travel on public transport, strengthen brand perception and thus contribute to a positive brand experience.

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