A streetcar named Cincinnati.

As a capstone project to my 2-year stint in the Motion Media MFA program at SCAD, I decided to combine several of my personal predilections – rail transit, concept design, and the history of my hometown, Cincinnati, Ohio. The work below follows the development of this Master's Thesis, from concept to delivery – plus a few related projects to boot. 

THE FIRST LEG of the Thesis journey involved concept development, of course, and this is the most intensive part of the process to me. Hammering the spikes down securely at inception allows for a much smoother ride, and so this stage was critical. The project not only had to reflect my technical education and abilities, but also conceptual fortitude, methodologies, and reasoning.

Following my passions – Cincinnati history, rail transit, and conceptual development and design – seemed the clearest and most direct route to successfully arriving at the end station. Thus, the end goal would be a combination of 2D and 3D design, modeling, and animation, wrapped in an interactive guide – titled: The unrealized Cincinnati Subway and it's effects on the city: historical context, growth patterns, current status, and contrast with an alternate future. An ambitious undertaking. Below are some working notes to that effect.


THE NEXT STOP involved production (once the concept was approved by my thesis committee). I went to work putting together the pieces of the story that I wanted to tell – modeling 3D structures based on the minimal portions of the constructed line, along with new comps from old photographs, city plans, and even anecdotal evidence.



ROLLING STOCK was developed next, as legs of this historical narrative needed to show these unbuilt legs of the subway as alive and working – not only as a nostalgic historical marker, but prognostications of a future past. I stylized the 3D comps to mesh well with the pamphlet-style aesthetic I was developing for the interactive and print portions.


THE FINAL STATIONS entailed writing and designing the pamphlet (narrative, menus, cartography) and to develop the interactive shell to house everything. Some shots of this process below.


It was a laborious effort, but one that hopefully paid off. You can view the final work here.


YEARS AFTER the completion of my Thesis, things seemed to come full circle: I was presented with an opportunity to help design video marketing materials for the thrust of rail transit rebirth in Cincinnati.

I briefly rejoined the rail conversation in 2010, helping to develop an event video for the EACC (European-American Chamber of Commerce) Conference & Gala held in Cincinnati (screenshot below, left) + pitched some rebrand concepts (comps below, right).

Event video (screenshot).

THEN with the impending operation of the new Cincinnati Streetcar in 2016, the City of Cincinnati sent out an RFP for their video streetcar safety/marketing campaign. My studio, ROSSLANDS (partnering with a local boutique agency) made it into the final round of selection. Below are some samples from the pitch.

THE NEXT STATION will be arriving with updates to these projects, as well as pitches on other related projects. As a proponent of rail and other forms of alternative public transit, the future looks bright for growth of this infrastructure in our region, and regions beyond. Stay tuned.