Winning By Decal
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Winning By Decal

For a “Toronto-based collection of art geeks, design wonks, and new-urbanist cheerleaders inspired by the very streets, stations, and structures that make up the urban landscape,” newborn local design collective Walloper could not have picked a much better way to debut than by unveiling a small fleet of TTC decals.
A week after co-founders Derek Watson and Mike Warning added photos of their prototypes to Flickr and the TRIBE message board, and a few days after officially unveiling a few decals of a few subway station logos ready to order from Walloper’s online store, Watson now says they’re “overwhelmed” with the success, and adding the remainder of Toronto’s sixty-nine stations as fast as they can make them.

Wellesley Station, from start to finish.
It started with Spadina. Warning was decorating his new loft and decided he wanted a Spadina Station decal on his wall. “It needed to exist,” Watson told Torontoist, “it just didn’t.” Watson, too, has always been an avid subscriber to TTC pride: he wears one of Spacing‘s subway buttons on his jacket, and, not surprisingly, has always been underwhelmed by the TTC’s official merchandising options (this is seriously the TTC’s online store right now). The decals are the next in a long line of unlicensed projects that capitalize on TTC rider devotion while one-upping the organization’s own products, and they are simple, clean, and clever—exactly the kind of product the TTC ought to have already been making.
By the end of the day on Monday, interest in the project had exploded, making it to BlogTO, Spacing, and then Boing Boing, which brought worldwide attention to the project and drew the interest of expats eager to recapture part of home. Because, says Watson, they “took more complicated and interesting designs first” the rest should be mostly easy, and should come fast; as of this morning, they’ve already jumped up to eleven stations and two other signs, each decal available in two sizes and sixteen colours from lemon to midnight blue, and costing between $25 (for a small Northbound-Southbound sign) to $50 (for a 40″ x 19.5″ piece of St. Clair West).
As interest continues to grow and as orders pile up, Watson expects that Walloper will soon be hearing from the TTC. Once upon a time, the Better Way was fiercely territorial of their brand, going so far as to send a cease and desist order in early 2006 to John Martz for creating an anagram subway map. It’s a reputation that the TTC hasn’t been able to shake; even though the decals were made with only the best of intentions, “we’re waiting for [their] call,” says Watson, “every time the phone rings.”
Walloper may well be getting a call from TTC chair Adam Giambrone soon, but not for the reasons Watson expects. “I think it is great,” Giambrone said of the decals when we e-mailed him yesterday. “I’m thinking I’d love to get sixteen for my office and put them up on the wall.”
All photos courtesy of Walloper.