The Problem:

Motion sickness
Too much of a Blade Runner vibe

Our friends over at Moniker were invited by ICON Magazine to participate in their ongoing Rethink series where designers are invited to rebrand something/anything of their choosing. They saw a big opportunity in rethinking the Hyperloop. Knowing that the name was a big part of the equation, Moniker invited us along for the ride. The thought was that the name felt like it came from the late ’80s/early ’90s neo-noir universe that produced Terminator 2, Robocop, and Blade Runner. The problem is that the Hyperloop is more near future than distant dream. They’re signing contracts with cities and boring tunnels right now. And if this future is right around the corner they need to start tailoring their brand and messaging towards real potential riders and transit agencies.

An interesting aspect of this challenge was that Hyperloop probably has more brand equity than any company that is still years away from going to market. People know it and love it without ever having ridden it. With that said, the name has some flaws – especially when seen as a consumer brand.

Make it a utility
Play off of Hyperloop

The first issue is that Hyperloop sounds like the newer, more vomit-inducing cousin of the Gravitron. Considering this is a groundbreaking technology that rockets you through a pressurized tube at 700 mph, we thought a less futuristic name would help put potential Hyperloop riders at ease. While there are plenty of thrill seekers who would just as happily go for a ride along in an F-16, we imagine a stable ridership depends on winning over a slightly more risk-averse audience.

Considering the equity already existing in the Hyperloop name we felt it was best to play off of it instead of appending or disregarding it. Hoop came from just sitting and playing with the word Hyperloop until an interesting answer surfaced. The name works on a few levels. First, hoop is “Hyperloop” without the letters in the middle. This creates the effect of actually making the name faster, paralleling what the company is looking to do to transportation infrastructure. Hoop also references the tunnels that will be housing the shuttles as they move through the system. It does this definitionally and physically with the two o’s in the middle of the word.

The name allows for Hyperloop to remain as a parent brand where necessary – hoop by Hyperloop. This let’s the Hyperloop name stay in places like engineering, construction and recruiting where the futuristic, fast attributes are more appealing. It is also easily appended – a commercial variant could easily become hoop freight, and other appendices could identify route variations or durations.

We also worked alongside Moniker to develop taglines and top-level messaging for hoop. Pick up a copy of the ICON California Issue at a magazine shop or bookstore near you. See more at ICON and check back in September when the full story will be online in the Rethink section.


More you say?