Reli Brand Identity

Reli Train Card

With the concessioning of the Kenya-Uganda railway, we were approached by Africa Practice on behalf of Rift Valley Railways to develop a brand for a planned commuter railway service payment card.

Rift Valley Railways had come up with the concept of a smartcard service that allowed commuters to pay for their train fare using a pre topped up card with contactless payment technology.  This sounded very exciting - something that would take the Kenyan rail system to the next level! It needed a fitting name and identity.


Naming the brand

What would we call it? It had to be something with mass appeal and easily memorable. We put our heads together and came up with the name Reli, which is means railroad in Swahili. Gari la moshi would selfishly hog all the space on the card plus it just didn’t have that ring to it. 



Just as easily as the name flowed off the tongue we needed it to have an appealing flow to the eye, we experimented with a few ideas but none unanimously stood out like the cursive font. It looks hand written, like a piece of calligraphy, giving it that handled with care personal touch.



Colour is the visual component that people remember most about any brand. They absorb it before symbols, shapes, numbers and even words. Having that in mind colour branding was a major component in our train of thought (see what we did there?). We needed a colour that justifiably represented the brand, after careful thought we arrived at destination blue. It fit perfectly. The pragmatics of blue convey smart, progress, trustworthy, all of which applied to this technology. A combination of different shades of blue that increased in intensity from left to right made the card vibrant and achieved instant recognition of the brand at first glance.



We gladly awarded the first Reli card to a Mr. John Kiramiti. We don’t know if he uses the train but purely for the aesthetic value we’re sure he’d want it anyway.




The use of a train seemed obvious but it needed a twist. Rather than using a common picture of a train we chose to use a simple yet detailed delineated image of a train. Even if people who didn’t know the brand saw the card they could rightly assume what the card was for simply by looking at the imagery.






Sadly, in the end, the project wasn’t meant to be. We hope for its revival in the near future.