Digital design & development


A journey to create a brand new name, identity and website for the mass transit app makers

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In 2011, our engagement with Embark entailed the rebranding and relaunching of its highly popular iPhone and Android mass transit apps to the world. At the outset, we conceptualized a fresh name and identity, then designed and developed a responsive website for all audiences.

And how cool is it that Embark has since been acquired by Apple? Very.

What's in a name?

When the company first started, they were known as Pandav (RIP).

We postulated that it was somehow Panda-related, a Japanese sci-fi reference or an Indian name. We learned it meant nothing — it was simply different. And Tom Hauburger, David Hodge, Ian Leighton and Taylor Malloy, the good folks of Pandav, acknowledged the call for a new moniker for their rapidly growing set of apps.

That's where we came in.

The Name Game

We brainstormed a great deal on just names. Out of a good dozen or so, we decided on two that seemed to make sense. One was simpler, straightforward, and the other was bold, a little distinctive and, well, more unique. And dare we say it, but adventurous too.

The Final Signature

From our original message and pitch in Basecamp, in a thread entitled “The Name Game”:

6) Embark
This one is exciting too and denotes the idea of it [transit] before going on a journey. The concept of 'Embark' and 'embarking' is also at the heart of the apps. It suggests the start of travel, with itinerary set and planned.

The Responsive Website

A mobile app company obviously needs to address the mobile and responsive atmosphere. How could this be any other way? We extended the updated Embark brand across a cohesive visual language for their website, utilizing little touches from the industry space such as transit maps and train stations.

Another one of our favorites, we like to think that it helped a little in their acquisition by Apple.