SFMTA's New Logo Looks Really Familiar


What do AKTA, a Chicago-based design firm, and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency have in common? A logo, apparently.

To celebrate Muni's 100th anniversary, the SMFTA was excited to get a new look for its taxis, parking, bikes, and pedestrian services -- among other things. After folks submitted design proposals, a panel of judges chose Paul Miller, from the San Francisco-based design firm, Method, as the winner.

But there's just one problem. This new logo Miller designed isn't exactly new.

According to AKTA, SFMTA's new logo is essentially a rip-off of the design firm's logo, just with a different color scheme. John Roa, founder of AKTA, posted the news about the logo likeness on his company website, explaining that he was "flattered ... but"

For 30 months now, I have been in love with our logo. It has the perfect blend of abstract design with a bold image. It even looks good in our metal lobby. I am a bit beside myself to be honest. I am highly doubtful of this being intentional, more likely a similar creative process (and taste!), but this is a pretty important flag to raise before this becomes the new look of San Francisco
Rather than going to court, both AKTA and the transit agency are amenable to dealing with this uncomfortable issue diplomatically.

Roa says he has seen similar designs in the past, but nothing quite so identical as this. After talking to Miller (whom Roa says he's a big fan of), Roa said he understands this could be an easy mistake. After all, this logo is a "very logical mark."

AKTA designed its logo back when the company was founded in January 2010 to "create something abstract, [something] bold that could be used ubiquitously," he said.

But not so ubiquitous that people might get confused between Muni and the AKTA. "We're hoping for some tweaks," Roa said.

SFMTA officials told us they are willing to have conversations over the logo, but officials there have made no commitment to back away from the newly minted branding.

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