The TSA needs help — bad. The agency and its blue-shirted officers have never been the most popular kids on the block, but things got worse last week when a former employee told all in a Politico article. But don't worry, TSA. The designers are here to save you.
A few students from the School of Visual Arts in New York recently put together a complete rebranding strategy for the TSA as their thesis project, and it's brilliant. Gone are the confusing grey pictograms, reams of copy and useless QR codes. Instead, you get simple, bold and impressively honest statements like, "security is no fun", written in unassuming lowercase type. There's even a plan to hand out free water bottles to those who had to trash their drinks in order to clear security, and a very clever option that would let you buy your way to the front of the line.
As Fast Company's Margaret Rhodes explains in her write up, part of what makes the proposed design work so well is how empathetic the messages are. Going through security isn't fun. In fact, it usually sucks. TSA officers are also some of the surliest people you'll ever meet. You can't really blame them, since they have such a thankless job. But weirdly, as these images suggest, even a few signs with nice messages and a TSA logo could actually make a big impact.
Who knows if the TSA will take these young designers' advice. But we all know that something needs to be done. Because seriously, one more story about a TSA agent stealing booze from an Iraq War veteran who's missing limbs, and I'm switching to trains. Check out the students' full thesis presentation below. [FastCo Design]