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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Type enlarged via a Luci had to first be proofed which meant the letters were subject to being over- or underinked.

Open Preview See a Problem? The system was publicized in but the airport did not open until two years later. If you like typography and hwlvetica geekery, then you will love this book. Vickers simplified the decorative borders surrounding the name tablets but did not alter the lettering styles of either the IRT or the BMT.

Imported type was even more expensive—it meant shipping lead across the Atlantic—and had the further disadvantage of having to be specially manufactured for helvwtica with American printing presses. Unimark had the connections and it had the experience.

This film negative was used for the final enlargement.

Their typeface was a modified version of Helvetica Bold, available in both positive and negative versions. The book contained lots of interesting visuals, from tiled subway station identifiers subwwy every type of sign you may see in the subway today Djelicka Pillot October 31, The enamel signs syxtem split in belvetica horizontally with white lettering on a colored background at the top for the name of each station and black letters on a white background below for additional information about each stop.

The latter included not only the MetroCards but stationery, maps, kiosks, booths and vehicles. The illustrations are evocative of the challenges of modern typography and rational, helpful design. Nov 04, Courtney rated it really liked it Shelves: Efforts to untangle this visual mess began in the mids, when the city transit authority hired the design firm Unimark International to create a clear and consistent sign system.


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. These letters, inspired by Art Deco, were heavier and more geometric than the earlier sans serifs rooted in 19th-century grotesques.

Some were temporary in nature—lettered on easel boards—and others were more permanent. Cities need street designers who consider the font on signs, the colors on the signs, placement.

It might subwsy because the problem of signage has many of the same design challenges as the design of zubway. Among the changes included in it were: In the early s an Italian designer named Massimo Vignelli designed a signage system Helvetica is a sans-serif font based on Standard akzidenz groteskdesigned in by two Swiss font designers.

This would have been especially true for the larger foundry sizes of the face since they would have ad more and thus cost more—and been less likely to be used by other customers.

Helvetiac on, the company heavily promoted it to the graphic design community. Within months of Vignelli’s arrival in New York, Unimark gained a plum assignment. Their modular system survives but only as graphic units rather than physical components.

It did not have enough money to pay Unimark to create a complete manual of design recommendations or even an explanation of the modular system; and it failed to ask for a working document.

The book contained lots of interesting v An easy or dense read, depending on how much you want to take from it. According to the Post and the New York Daily Newsmany trains still had their old route numbers and letters.

The porcelain enamel signs, either hung from the ceiling or posted on the walls, were directional as well as informational. The thickness and position of the white stripe was officially defined. Ajd were even worse than the Times realized—the AA line had been renamed the K.

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

The captions were all willy-nilly and the pictures didn’t seem to go in any real order. The two companies continued to make enamel signs throughout the s, placing them on girder columns as well as cast-iron ones. Goldstein and the first Unimark signs, both of which incorporated new color-coding and naming for all of the subway lines. The TA team and I stood in mid-platform.

Many of the informational signs warned against criminal, dangerous or unhealthy behavior: Dark colors are applied before light colors. The typeface was Standard Medium. I will never look at signage around a transportation hub the same again.

The TA also decided to hold a competition for a new map. I would highly recommend this, but I think you probably need to read it in an actual book format – I’m not sure how it would translate in an e-book. After enjoying the documentary about the typeface Helvetica, I wanted to check this book out.

Helvetica and the New York City Subway System

Dec 31, Ian rated it really liked it. At the proper time, the operations yyork directed the empty train to leave 57th Street and advance south to 47th Street, and both trains were directed to watch for each other and enter the station together and slowly.

Confusion was not limited to the subway passengers. A heavy focus on the designers. It endures today despite a number of severe changes that make one wonder if it can even be attributed to them and Unimark anymore. Noorda established a spacing system for his custom typeface. But the typeface was no longer Standard Medium—with a few exceptions.

The Seventh Avenue line branched off into single lines, designated E1 through E5.