18 Nov There is a commonly held belief that Helvetica is the signage typeface of the New York City subway system, a belief reinforced by Helvetica. 17 Jul Blue Pencil Edition Front Cover: “Subway” stamped in white foil on black linen in Akzidenz Grotesk BQ Medium. Blue Pencil Edition Back. Helvetica and the New York City Subway System. Abstract. The threads just mentioned were typical design considerations at that time; today issues of.

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Subwxy of money was the principal explanation for the TA’s refusal to allow Unimark to oversee the implementation of their signage recommendations, but several other factors were probably at work as well: He also wanted the signage to be standardized. The lone exception to this state of affairs was London where Johnston Railway Sans— designed by calligrapher Edward Johnston at the behest of Frank Pick, publicity manager at London Transport—had been in use since for signage as well as on posters and advertising.

The errant black band at the top was replaced by a thin white line, demarcating the nonexistent location of the gap between sign and housing—but the typeface was still Standard.

How initiatives from private individuals become corporate policies, and how original ideas become modified over time. Along the way the fonts had some forced standardisations which required the breakup of the in-house signmaking shop whose inability to resist doing their own thing messed up one attempt an standardisation.

The (Mostly) True Story of Helvetica and the New York City Subway

The Chrystie Street Connection—the largest overhaul of the New York City subway system since unification in —opened on November 26, I really liked this book. Some signs were installed as early aswhen the TA began a program of station renovation under the guidance of in-house architect Paul Katz.

Unimark had the connections and it had the experience.

Given clty devotion to Helvetica at the time, his answer has the ring of truth to it—especially since he set the explanatory text of the Graphics Standards Manual in it! She was on the AIGA board of directors and was well familiar with graphic design firms, especially the nascent Unimark. By the end of the s the full effects of the desktop publishing revolution—touched off in by the conjunction of the Apple Macintosh, Apple Ajd, Adobe PostScript page description language and Aldus PageMaker software—had begun to be felt in the graphic design community.

But change was already underway bywhen Fred Wilkinson, director of consumer affairs at the TA, convened a committee to devise a new ckty for the subway system to replace the one that Massimo Vignelli had designed only four years earlier. During andUnimark worked on the guidelines while juggling work for its corporate clients.

Helvetica and the New York City Subway System

This is because it is an amalgamation of three separate systems, two of which incorporated earlier urban railway lines.

In the s, urban planners, architects and graphic designers, both here and in Europe, took an interest in the systematic design of signage for cities, highways, railways, subways and airports.

But the typeface was no longer Standard Medium—with a few exceptions. Jun 07, reed rated it liked it. A plea and a plan for improved passenger information in the New York subways. He also reduced the height of the capitals and ascenders and the depth of the descenders to make a more compact design. Standard remained as part of the old artwork for the roll designators, though a diagram was included for making new discs—with Helvetica—for future line designations such as the current V and W trains.

In establishing Unimark they sought to wed American marketing to European modernist design. It’s half history lesson about the NYC Subway and half a lesson on typesetting and printing types, but I thought it was fascinating. Vickers simplified the decorative borders surrounding the name tablets but did not alter the lettering styles of either the IRT or the BMT.

What he most loved about it was its lack of sidebearings. The Seventh Avenue line branched off into single lines, designated E1 through E5.

Helvetica and the New York City Subway System: The True (Maybe) Story by Paul Shaw

A strangely fascinating documentary movie about Helvetica was released in Further inaccuracies were introduced during the tracing stage, depending upon the skill ehlvetica the draftsman—unless a pantograph was employed. Many of the informational signs warned against criminal, dangerous or unhealthy behavior: There was no house style.

The captions were all wil Maybe my problem is that I overestimated my interest. In fact, Arlington Street, the citu of Boston’s renovated T stations, had finally opened that month to much publicity and praise. Certainly, Vignelli had other opportunities to use Helvetica. They also prepared artwork for porcelain enamel tye but did not fabricate them. They were only installed on the platforms and not throughout the stations as Vignelli had urged.

The capitals, ascenders and descenders were all reduced, while the Q and 2 were modeled after Standard.

tne Unfortunately, Gray did not examine transportation system signage, and Constantine and Jacobson devoted only a few sentences and images to the topic, primarily focusing on above-ground signs for the Paris Metro and London Underground. Some were temporary in nature—lettered on easel boards—and others were more permanent.

Where Am I Going? Dec 07, Jen rated it it was amazing Shelves: The latter was owned by the Bauersche Giesserei of Frankfurt am Main and had been in business in New York since the late s, when it was responsible for introducing Futura to the American market.

Noorda returned to Milano to have prototype signs mocked up. Ava rated it really liked it Oct 09, But it also built upon those specifications to include precise manufacturing instructions, explicit spacing guidelines, a glossary of terms, semantic rules for the information to be included on signs, examples of mandatory signs as well as informational and directional ones, and suggestions for a line map intended for use inside subway cars and a directory to aid riders seeking the best way to get from point A to point B via the subway.

The illustrations are evocative of the challenges of moder This marvelous book is a piece of art in itself. The situation with the scroll signs was worse.