CTA Trademarks and You:
CTA Trademark Guidelines for Developers / Branding Guide
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CTA Trademark Guidelines for Developers (with Branding Guide)
CTA Trademark Guidelines for Developers
As a developer who works with CTA data, we really appreciate the hard work you’re doing to add to the variety of tools people have in getting around Chicago!
By using the data, you also agree to these CTA Trademark Guidelines for Developers including, without limitation, Appendix A (collectively, “Guidelines”), which are provided to help answer some of the questions you may have about what is and isn’t acceptable when it comes to our name and marks. We work hard to protect our name, logos, and trade and service marks and require your help in making sure that people understand the difference between our hard work and yours. Keep in mind that these Guidelines are just examples of what you can and can’t do and that CTA reserves the right to discontinue providing you with access to the CTA data for any reason, including if you in any way suggest that CTA is affiliated with, endorses, or sponsors you or your project or do anything to tarnish or dilute the CTA’s marks or goodwill.
What you can do
You’re both welcome and encouraged to do any of the following:
- You can mention in the description of your project that it uses or includes data provided by CTA.
- You can mention which CTA API your product uses.
- You can describe your project to indicate that it uses data from CTA (for example, “Data provided by Chicago Transit Authority,” "Data provided by CTA" or “Powered by CTA data”) .
- You can use the standard bus and train icons we use on signs.
- You can use the CTA Bus Tracker logo and CTA Train Tracker logo when presenting data from that respective API, subject to the limitations in the DLA.
- You can use proper CTA ‘L’ route colors.
- You can incorporate CTA styles in the attached style guide in how you present information from CTA, such as how map lines are drawn, transfers are indicated, etc.
What you can’t do
You can’t, however, do certain things which might confuse people regarding who made it or whether it’s officially endorsed.
Here’s a list of a few of the things we don’t want you to do:
- Don’t use a CTA name or mark (e.g., CTA, CTA BUS TRACKER or CTA TRAIN TRACKER) as the first word(s) or primary word(s) in your project name.
- Don’t use a CTA name or mark in your project name without some punctuation before it (e.g., colon, hyphen, dash) or otherwise physically separating it from the app name (see section below for more details).
- Don’t name your project in such a way that makes it sound like it was made by us or otherwise sounds official. For example, do not use the words “official” or “authorized” or say things like “in partnership with CTA.”
- Don’t use a CTA name or mark in any way that expresses or suggests any type of association or partnership with CTA, or approval, sponsorship, or endorsement by CTA.
- Don’t use a modified or altered version of a CTA name or mark.
- Don't use any CTA logo, including any logo CTA has used in the past, or any approximations thereof. Examples of CTA logos that you may not use or approximate, including the CTA circle logo and text-based logos, are shown below.
- Don’t refer to your project using the same name as a CTA service, such as “Bus Tracker” or “Train Tracker.”
- Don’t include official CTA maps or other documents (you may link to them on our Web site).
- Don’t present a CTA name or mark in a way that makes it the most distinctive or prominent feature on your application, web page, printed material, or other content.
- Don’t use a CTA name or mark in a way that is deceptive, harmful, obscene, or otherwise objectionable to CTA.
- Don’t present or feature a CTA name or mark in connection with applications containing offensive or illegal activities or content, about which CTA reserves the right to make determinations in its sole discretion.
- Don’t combine a CTA name or mark with your own name or mark or the name or mark of anyone else.
- You may not attempt to get rights in any CTA name or mark or any confusingly similar approximations, whether by trademark registration, domain name registration, or otherwise.
Exceptions may be made to these rules under explicit license agreements between you and the CTA. Contact us if you have any questions or are interesting in becoming a CTA partner.
Examples of official CTA agency logos (do not use):
How do I avoid sounding “official” and how can I make it clear that my app works for the CTA system?
Simply put: we’re specifically trying to avoid the perception that an app that CTA didn’t make and doesn’t endorse is either something it did make or does endorse.
Under normal circumstances, you can’t use the name CTA at all in a project name. However, because we want people to be able to easily find your work in marketplaces and search engines if it helps them use CTA’s services, we’re granting you certain, limited rights as part of the Developer License Agreement.
To help avoid confusion, you must not do things like use our name or marks as a preface to your project name. In other words, your app name can’t begin with “CTA” or “CTA Bus Tracker” and can only use these words if they are separated physically from the rest of the app name by punctuation or otherwise.
If your app has multiple versions and each is specific to a single transit system, you can title it according to a convention that specifies that it’s for the CTA system, so long as there are other, functioning versions for other transit systems named using the same convention and so long as CTA isn’t the first word in the project name. If you do descriptively use “CTA” in your project name, you also must clearly state in any project description, in the end user license agreement you require your users to agree to, and inside the app or service that the app is neither made nor endorsed by the CTA.
You also can’t use the words “official” or “authorized” in association with CTA names or marks.
Here are some examples of acceptable app names:
- MyTransitApp - CTA version
- MyTransitApp (for CTA riders)
Here are some examples of unacceptable app names:
- CTA Bus Tracker
- CTA MyTransitApp
- Chicago Bus Tracker Pro
- Official CTA TransitApp
- MyTransitApp – Official CTA Version!
As the entity granting these specific rights and the absolute owner of our name and marks, if we feel that you’re not in compliance with any part of the DLA or that your app name could be too confusing, we won’t be able to list your app in our App Center, we may discontinue allowing you access to the CTA data, and we may ask you to take specific action to correct the issue and be in proper compliance.
Appendix A: Branding Guidelines
cta ‘L’ route color standards
The CTA rail system, known as the ‘L’, has certain design standards applied to help people easily identify our services and find their way through our stations.
To contribute further to recognizable route colors, we encourage you to use the following official color specifications in your project to help people immediately associate the output of your application with some of the same visual cues they’re used to.
||RGB Decimal Values
|RGB Hex Values
||Red Line Red
|198R 12B 48G
||Blue Line Blue
|0R 161G 222B
||Brown Line Brown
|98R 54G 27B
||Green Line Green
|0R 155G 58B
||Orange Line Orange
|249R 70G 28B
||Purple Line Purple
|82R 35G 152B
||Pink Line Pink
|226R 126G 166B
||Yellow Line Yellow
|249R 227G 0B
|86R 90G 92B
PANTONE® is a registered trademark of Pantone, Inc.
cta logo icon use readability tips
This section explains some basic usage rules to help ensure your use of our icons is readable.
Most of the logo icons you can use can appear either on their own (transparent background), light or dark, in a solid fill box with rounded corners. The logo should be horizontally centered if contained bounded by a box. Some also have a standalone bounding box.
While you can use the logo on colors, patterns or images, you should take readability into consideration. Avoid using a transparent logo icon on colors or patterns so that don’t contrast well (or which are too busy) that you can’t really see what it is. If your background just doesn’t work well with one of the transparent icons, a version within a solid bounding box, instead.
cta logo icons for use under license
CTA Bus Tracker (SM) Icon
This icon is used exclusively with CTA Bus Tracker data. It should not be shown alongside scheduled arrival times or geographic, general or other static information not directly related to Bus Tracker. Do not modify this icon or its colors from its black, white, or grey solid-fill versions. Make a note near this icon or at the bottom of pages or screens where used that the “CTA Bus Tracker (SM) logo icon is a trademark of the Chicago Transit Authority.”
CTA Train Tracker (SM) Icon
This icon is used exclusively with CTA Bus Tracker data. It should not be shown alongside scheduled arrival times or geographic, general or other static information not directly related to Bus Tracker. Do not modify this icon or its colors from its black, white, or grey solid-fill versions. Make a note near this icon or at the bottom of pages or screens where used that the “CTA Train Tracker (SM) logo icon is a trademark of the Chicago Transit Authority.”
US DOT Bus Icon
This icon is freely available from AIGA, produced as a collaboration by AIGA and the United States Department of Transportation as part of a 50-symbol-sign set. We recommend keeping them black or converting to white, but not colorized when used in relation to CTA service. Search for the AIGA symbol set if you’d like more standard icons from this collection.
CTA Standard ‘L’ Train Icon
This icon, unique to CTA, is used to represent ‘L’ train service. You may use this icon with ‘L’ service information, such as in trip planners, mapping and general service information. These icons can be used as black on light colors, white on dark colors, or modifying them to match official route colors.
Get these icons as Scalable Vector Graphics (.svg in .zip file)