Launching a transit app as a commuting companion

The birth of Umo: naming, messaging and a fun identity helps Cubic Corporation do B2B2C with ease.


Cubic Corporation is the transportation giant whose software and logistics systems run the New York Metro and the London Tube. While their reputation was stellar in the B2B space, their latest product, an app for metro commuters, took them into uncharted waters. Cubic engaged Traina to develop a new brand that would resonate with both public transportation systems and the everyday commuters who use them.


The trouble with transit, solved

Our journey with Cubic began with a deep dive into the world of public transit to understand the challenges faced by system providers, and the hurdles that arose from a rider’s perspective.

Cubic’s platform had the potential to solve big headaches for everyone. Imagine an app that provides one access point for all transit options: subway lines combined with ridesharing services, as well as microtransportation like scooters and bikes—a seamless solution for transit providers, accessed by commuters through a single mobile app experience. Getting from A to B had never been easier, but how would the app gain traction with audiences?

Research and competitive analysis revealed the path forward. We positioned the technology around shared simplicity and personified the delight of the product with a unique and playful identity.

Taking the unexpected route

Transit apps often feel like they are branded by those who built them, and can have as much personality as a black-and-white bus schedule. The market was ready for a more creative, less technical brand that embodied the simplicity it promised.

Traina’s personified approach first came to life with naming—finding the right blend of fun and functionality. Umo is a shortcut to “urban mobility” as well as an allusion to “U move,” capturing the nature of the brand in just three ownable letters. Those letters also become the friendly face of the product itself, an Easter egg waiting to be found any given day on a user’s way home.

From name and identity, the brand took on true momentum, with elements being expressed throughout an expansive visual vocabulary, including custom iconography and unique, unexpectedly joyful photographic treatments.

A true departure

The days of interacting with a bland interface are over, as consumers now demand more personality from brands and their products. Traina was ahead of the curve in positioning Umo as the everyday travel buddy, the friend who knows where you’re going, and how best to get there.

With functionality custom-built for municipalities, and a fun personality made for the masses, the transit platform is now Cubic’s standout product, currently used in more than 60 metropolitan areas and leading the logistics giant into the B2B2C space.

Traina was able to articulate everything we wanted to say but couldn’t communicate ourselves.”

Krishna Desai, global marketing manager

Let’s move things forward.