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Making Metro Cool

Michael Lejeune is the creative director for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and as such he's tasked with making transit cool in a city that long worshipped the automobile.
May 12, 2014, 6am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Yusef El-Mansouri

Frances Anderton interviews Michael Lejeune, creative director for Metro, about the design initiatives that are changing perceptions about transit in Los Angeles County. According to Lejeune, his team at Metro has redesigned "every single aspect of the customer experience" as well as expanded the transit agency's communications to a broader audience. "Our audience is every single person who lives or works or plays in LA County. You may never ride a bus or train but you are still our audience," says Lejeune.

The goal of Lejeune's shop of about 20 graphic, interactive, and environmental designers? To make Metro cool.

"But our philosophy has been that you can’t make Metro cool if you can’t get Metro to be noticed. We thought, we are not going to simply show a photo of a bus or train, but rather present a more colorful version of getting around LA that’s focused on people and possibility."

Lejeune mentions an important aspect of appealing to a broad audience—stay off the soap box: "The public is made up of a lot of people, and one of the things about mass transit is that it’s for everyone. And we know that negative perceptions of the transit experience are out there. But our idea has been to show Metro as cool, a smart choice and a fun experience. And we do this without being preachy. No ‘shoulds.’"

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Published on Wednesday, May 7, 2014 in KCRW - DnA
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