Bauer countered by touting Folio, a neo-grotesque designed by Konrad Bauer and Walter Baum. By insisting on silkscreening instead of stenciling, in the Graphic Standards Manual, Unimark was trying to avoid defects such as those that had infuriated Vignelli. Vickers' goal was to make it easier for riders to quickly recognize their stop upon entering a station. In May 1966, the NYCTA, on the recommendation of the Museum of Modern Art, hired the firm to advise it on signage and to assess Prof. Goldstein's report—new maps meant new signs. Unimark showcased all three of these signage projects in the August/September 1969 issue of Casabella. The IRT lines date to 1904; the BMT lines to 1908 (when it was the BRT, or Brooklyn Rapid Transit); and the IND to 1932. The MTA had expected to complete the entire color-coding program in 36 months, but its plans fell woefully short. By 1979—the subway system's Diamond Jubilee year—the MTA had finally begun to get some federal financial assistance, and the subway's prospects were starting to slowly turn around. He also wanted the signage to be standardized. About fonts: Font by Dennis Ludlow Finding the available weights of Helvetica to be either too bold or too light, Noorda created an intermediate weight. The various printed materials—posters, brochures, maps, timetables—were intended to have a coordinated design, yet some used Standard and others Helvetica. With the exception of the gate designations, the signs were set in all lowercase letters. Whenever we inquired how the project was going, they were very optimistic. There were no reasons, technical or otherwise, not to use Helvetica. On November 26, the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) introduced the first set of colored service labels (also known as bullets), to coincide with the opening of the Chrystie Street Connection. If the NYCTA was not already aware of the gap between its own transportation signage and that for British Rail, the Boston T and the Metropolitana Milanese, they certainly knew after the close of the symposium. In the wake of this disaster, Prof. Stanley A. Goldstein, a professor of engineering at Hofstra University, was hired as a consultant in January 1965 to devise a map that would successfully solve the color-coding problem posed by New York City's tangled subway system. The New York City Subway map. Instead of inking the type after it was locked up, it was sprayed with black lacquer or lampblack. These were Helvetica' rivals. Follow: Recently Added Fonts. Download Subway Pro New York font at FontsMarket.com, the largest collection of amazing freely available fonts for Windows and Mac. This may seem like braggadocio, but his claim has a very large grain of truth in it. The TA also decided to hold a competition for a new map. 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. The manual cautioned that ”any other form of Helvetica (e.g., condensed, regular, etc.) Smaller directional signs—with arrows indicating exits from each station—were also made in mosaic tile in both serif and sans serif roman capitals. All of the elements of the Oceanic Building sign system resurfaced in other transportation sign systems of the 1960s. This map shows regular service. Franco Albini and Franca Helg did the station designs, while the signage was by Bob Noorda, who was also responsible for suggesting the color-coding of the system's three lines. The printing surface was then wiped clean with a rubber pad until it was shiny. The latter included not only the MetroCards but stationery, maps, kiosks, booths and vehicles. Every font is free to download! The process for preparing artwork for porcelain enamel signs was more professional by the time Michael Hertz Associates began working on the subway signage than it was when Unimark was first hired. During 1968 and 1969, Unimark worked on the guidelines while juggling work for its corporate clients. A regular train was alerted in advance that it would be part of a test. In late 1965, Massimo Vignelli, a Milanese graphic designer, moved to New York City. And, as in Milan, he viewed signs in perspective to test their legibility. Thus, Salomon's system consisted of the Lexington Avenue line (B, blue), the Broadway BMT line (C, purple), the Sixth Avenue line (D, orange), Seventh Avenue line (E, red) and Eighth Avenue line (F, green). The standard subway map with larger labels and station names. At the time, Noorda—a Dutch designer who had moved to Italy in 1952 and gained a reputation for his work as art director of Pirelli—had his own design firm in Milan. But the assignment was brief—Unimark was expected to submit their report by September 1966—and ultimately very unsatisfying. Beginning in the early 1950s, stations were systematically lengthened to accommodate newer and longer cars. ”In many stations,“ Paul Goldberger wrote in The New York Times, in 1979, ”the signs are so confusing that one is tempted to wish they were not there at all—a wish that is, in fact, granted in numerous other stations and on all too many of the subway cars themselves. It also replaced Goldstein's Munsell Color System for the route disks with equivalent colors from the Pantone Matching System. But it is not true—or rather, it is only somewhat true. “Of the various weights of sans serif available, Standard Medium has been found to offer the easiest legibility from any angle, whether the passenger is standing, walking or riding.” The inadvertent black band at the top of the signs was now accepted as part of their look: “The 1 5/8” black band at the type of the panel represents a structural device to which the panels are fastened. What he most loved about it was its lack of sidebearings. Helvetica celebrated its 50th anniversary with a movie, an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art and a book. When Vignelli designed the subway map he was no longer a member of Unimark International. Buying a typeface meant buying a range of sizes and thus metal type took up a lot of space. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) was created in March 1968. Include appropriate text copy along with image of properties. Shik (New York), Deon (Paris) and Etan (Berlin) came together to show the typical tag styles of their respective metropolitan areas. The lettering of these signs is in a spur serif style—common in 19th-century sign-painting manuals—that is reminiscent of social invitation typefaces such as Copperplate Gothic. Three years later it was licensed by D. Stempel AG of Frankfurt (which owned shares in Haas) and renamed Helvetica. Why was Helvetica not chosen originally? For example, interior designer Stanley Abercrombie, in an essay accompanying the 1977–1978 Cooper-Hewitt Museum exhibition ”Subways,“ credited the signage to Vignelli and praised his use of a ”clear, smart Helvetica face.“ Similarly, the website of the Design Museum in London, gushing over Helvetica, declares: ”From the beautifully implemented New York Subway signage system by Vignelli to its usage on the lowly generic EXIT sign, the flexibility of the typeface seems to have no boundaries.“ Most astonishing of all, the authors of Subway Style—published by the New York Transit Museum of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority—insist that the manual states the typeface for the signs is to be ”exclusively Helvetica.“, Helvetica finally became the official typeface for the New York City subway system signage in December 1989, when the MTA Marketing & Corporate Communications Division, the department in charge of its graphic standards, issued a new manual. 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. Noorda and Vignelli had an opportunity to change the NYCTA type to Helvetica when Unimark received its second contract, but they stuck with Standard. The font is available for free download here. The Brightype process avoided those pitfalls. Then, according to architectural critic Peter Blake, Vignelli and Noorda made their presentation, were “thanked and, apparently, forgotten.”. Vignelli hoped that the Graphic Standards Manual would lead to a more rational implementation of signs within the New York City subway system. Themes New fonts. The colored disks from 1984 were modified to take into account the addition to the system of the 9, H, Z, 1/9 and J/Z trains. He had come to the United States to head up the New York office of Unimark International, an international design consultancy established earlier that year. That must have really stung the NYCTA. NYC Subway Font Display font inspired by the iconic and colorful subway mosaic tiles of the New York City subway. Dark colors are applied before light colors. This map shows regular service. The name tablets were composed of small tiles in both serif and sans serif roman capitals. But when the ”We're Changing“ campaign was unveiled in 1979, the accompanying photographs and posters showed white Unimark signs being amended with route decals bearing the new color coding and the new diamonds. Michael Hertz Associates was hired to handle the signage manual, while the Service Identity Manual was done in-house. Previously, the NYCTA had sent him architectural drawings of each station, but they were not at the same time and he had difficulty coordinating them. The Subway Types are highly equipped. Owners. Opened in 1904, the New York City Subway is one of the world's oldest public transit systems, one of the most-used, and the one with the most stations. But that did not happen, due to two factors: 1) the sheer size of the New York subway system and 2) the financial woes that overtook both the MTA and the city of New York in the early 1970s, culminating in the city's rescue from bankruptcy in 1975. Follow Following Unfollow. The capitals, ascenders and descenders were all reduced, while the Q and 2 were modeled after Standard. The untenable mess of overlapping sign systems finally got attention in 1957 when George Salomon, typographic designer at Appleton, Parsons & Co., made an unsolicited proposal to the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) entitled “Out of the Labyrinth: A plea and a plan for improved passenger information in the New York subways.” The unpublished typescript anticipated many of the suggestions for overhauling the signage of the subway system that Unimark would make a decade later. A handmade typeface with 6 styles, available from Adobe Fonts for sync and web use. This marked the first about-face from the way the agency had been doing business. 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 1916 for signage as well as on posters and advertising. first transportation signage system to use Helvetica, Helvetica and the New York City Subway System (MIT Press, 2011). )“ Savan incorrectly credited the transit agency's ”graphic system“ to Vignelli and Walter Kacik, making no mention of Noorda or Unimark, and she conflated the TA's signage with the MTA's printed matter. But the typeface was no longer Standard Medium—with a few exceptions. The early 1970s were the years when the subway system was probably at its lowest ebb, along with the city itself. I wanted to do one line at a time; they were doing a station here and there, just like they have done since the beginning of the subways.” It is doubtful that the TA adopted Vignelli's line-by-line approach, but they certainly sped up the pace of installation in the wake of the events of November 26. Explore Subway designed by Hannes von Döhren at Adobe Fonts. Subway Example Subway Character Map Added on Tuesday, October 29, 2002 97,196 downloads Designed by Johan Waldstroem Similar Fonts A second reason is that by the end of the 1980s most MTA buses were using LED displays, which rendered the whole Standard/Helvetica debate moot. The British Rail identity, including Rail Alphabet, was unveiled in 1965. In November 1964, work on the M1 (Red) line, the first of the three-line Metropolitana Milanese, was completed. Hand-painted signs were added to the subway system as far back as the mid-1930s—maybe earlier—and were still being used three decades later. Helvetica is the official typeface of the MTA today, but it was not the typeface specified by Unimark International when it created a new signage system at the end of the 1960s. It was the first official map issued by the TA since its inception in 1953—and the first to show the entire system. The best one, Raleigh D'Adamo's submission, emulated London's seven-color coding system but was deemed “too complex for general use.” Goldstone later said that there was no winner “because a good map is not possible for a system which lacks intellectual order and precision”. To answer those questions this essay explores several important histories: of the New York City subway system, transportation signage in the 1960s, Unimark International and, of course, Helvetica. The black-on-white color scheme is now reversed. His subway map design, heavily influenced by Henry Beck's famous map for the London Underground, was published in 1958. Resource Links. New York Subway Tile Font This is an ongoing project to recreate the iconic and historical typeface found on the tiles of the New York Subways. The individual letters—as well as arrows and the new British Rail logo—were made as individual artwork tiles for easy assembly and spacing. We weren't even allowed to inspect it.” The new signs were often installed on top of old ones, creating more confusion in the subway system. In 1984 Michael Hertz Associates was hired as ”signage consultants to the architecture department of the TA.“ Hertz's work on the 1979 subway map had little bearing on the firm's selection as the contract was won through a competitive bidding process. station when TA officials arrived early to find old signs still hanging,” the Post wrote. Helvetica began life as Neue Haas Grotesque, a new interpretation of a 19th-century grotesque (probably Akzidenz-Grotesk) conceived by Eduard Hoffmann and executed by Max Miedinger for the Haas'sche Schriftgiesserei (Haas type foundry) in Munchenstein, Switzerland, in 1957. But it is not true—or rather, it is only somewhat true. Only a handful of sans serifs met this criteria in the early 1960s: Futura, News Gothic, Franklin Gothic, Standard and Univers. There was no house style. The industrial design firm Peter Muller-Munk Associates of Pittsburgh—designers of the NYCTA's two-toned M logo in 1968—had introduced it to the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) in 1969. You cannot: Combine your logo with the MTA logo. To make stencils of Standard at the large sizes recommended by Unimark it would have been necessary to either draw the ”type“ by eye, or enlarge it using a Goodkin Lucigraph (or Luci, a form of opaque projector) or Ludlow Typograph's Brightype process. The typeface, used on maps as well as the signs, was Helvetica Medium. A view of how the subway system runs overnights. Although there was no mention of any change in the official typeface some of the sample illustrations used Helvetica instead of Standard. The Subway font has been downloaded 145,595 times. What did the Bergen Street Sign Shop workers use as a source for creating their painted and hand-cut stencil versions of Standard? His custom typeface for the Metropolitana Milanese was born out of dissatisfaction with both types. history It also included guidelines for door signs and Off Hour Waiting Area signs. The sign system design was carried out by Benno Wissing, of Total Design, who used an altered Standard—ascenders and descenders chopped down—as the typeface. The new logo accompanied the development and introduction of the MetroCard. To test out the signage, a prototype design for East 53rd Street—home to the Museum of Modern Art, CBS and the Seagram Building—was created. The contest—judged by Harmon H. Goldstone, head of the New York City Planning Commission, and Jerry Donovan, cartographer for Time magazine—drew only nine entries. In October of that year, when the long-delayed 63rd Street tunnel was finally opened, its three new stations—63rd Street/Lexington Avenue, Roosevelt Island and 21st Street/Queensbridge—all sported 1968-designed interiors and Helvetica signage. The massive changeover was accompanied by a set of new maps overseen by Prof. Goldstein and the first Unimark signs, both of which incorporated new color-coding and naming for all of the subway lines. 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. There are several styles there; I was looking at the serif-font station signs dating to the early 20th century. Voice The directional signs included those on the outside of the station entrances as well as those intended for the corridors and platforms underground. At the same time, the Visual Graphic Corporation (VGC), manufacturers of the Typositor which set display phototype, offered faces ”similar to“ Helvetica. Both used Helvetica. Use either the entire subway map or a portion of the map. The New York City Transit Authority Graphic Standards Manual was finally issued in 1970. The result was, in Vignelli's words, “the biggest mess in the world.” The TA's Bergen Street Sign Shop ignored the modular system, misinterpreted the black stripe at the top of the drawings (which indicated the metal channel housing holding the signs) as a design element, rendered the type by hand rather than photomechanically and did not space the letters to Vignelli's satisfaction. It expected to have new signs in 78 stations by the end of the year. Noorda returned to Milano to have prototype signs mocked up. In addition, as roll signs are replaced, they will indicate route and destinations, as well as the color-code.“ The program—spurred by work the Tauranac committee set in place several years earlier—was expected to take up to 36 months to complete. What was chosen in its place? Download Subway Font Download Subway - 97,196 downloads Designed by Johan Waldstroem Graffiti Grunge Street Cool Thick Create a Logo Using Subway. Name * Email * Website. The MTA added the NYCTA, the Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority (MaBSTOA, a subsidiary of the NYCTA created in 1962 to oversee bus routes), and the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA) to the mix. The porcelain enamel signs, either hung from the ceiling or posted on the walls, were directional as well as informational. Linofilm Helvetica, a text phototype version of the font, was conceived by Mergenthaler in 1965 but not completed until 1967. Station names were silkscreened on the tiles in black geometrically constructed condensed sans serif letters. Temporary signs, made with vinyl adhesive letters, were the exception. ”If nothing else,“ Patricia Conway wrote in Print, ”the subway graffiti are a testimony to the monumental failure of TA officials and their design consultants to make the system legible.“ She went on to lambaste the transit agency for spending millions of dollars on anti-graffiti efforts rather than on capital improvements such as ”repairing inoperative doors, replacing burnt-out lights, securing rickety seats and maintaining or improving directional signs.“. However, in light of the problems that occurred during the opening of the Chrystie Street Connection, the intention of color-coding all train roll signs was equally important; and so too was the news about the station signage. Siegel+Gale rebranded the MTA in 1994, replacing the two-toned M logo with the letters ”MTA“ rendered in perspective within a circle. From the designers' perspective a new typeface intended for a wide range of applications had to be available both in foundry and composition versions—the former for display use and the latter for text setting. In the summer Noorda flew to New York to carry out a detailed survey of the traffic flow at five key subway stations: Times Square, Grand Central Station, Broadway/Nassau, Jay Street and Queensborough Plaza. To do this, diamonds were added to the existing circles designating each subway line. These decals had a black background instead of a white or clear one, an indication that they were eventually intended to be used with white on black signs. 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. The 1968 ”Program for Action“ was largely abandoned by the end of 1975. Although the decision to change the figure/ground relationship of the signs was made around 1973 and announced publicly in 1979, it took a while for the new signs to be implemented—just as it had taken years for the original Unimark signs to be introduced. No further details about the assignment are known. As any New Yorker—or visitor to the city—knows, the subway system is a labyrinth. While the citizen members of the committee were focused on creating a more geographically accurate map, the agency itself was interested in showing partial-time service on 11 lines. He also criticized the new TA logo by Sundberg-Ferar as dated. Certainly TA management would have been wary of antagonizing the Transport Workers Union and Amalgamated Transit Union in the wake of the 12-day transit strike that brought New York City to a halt in January 1966. This film negative was used for the final enlargement. 5 out of 5 stars (114) 114 reviews Although there is evidence that some signs were painted by hand, the porcelain enamel ones must have been done through enlargement. With the hiring of Unimark it seemed that the TA had finally realized the need to rectify the Piranesian situation underground. See the subway service changes as we react to COVID-19. In November 1967, the New York City Planning Department hired the New York office of Unimark to create a signage standards manual for all city agencies. Similar markings were used for the other subsidiary lines. Some of its commuter rail lines were already using Helvetica for their signage. Their modular system survives but only as graphic units rather than physical components. Finally, Standard Medium has given way to Helvetica Medium—or, more accurately, to Neue Helvetica 65. The text was entirely typeset as were all the examples of signage. The latter, usually informational in nature—such as the location of toilets—were painted on corridor walls in red and black grotesque capitals. Adobe Fonts is the easiest way to bring great type into your workflow, wherever you are. FontPalace.com offers largest database of free fonts. 37 . For the lettering, Forbes, who had a solo practice at the time, hired a young Matthew Carter (b. The detailed survey carried out by the TA in December 1967 was a necessary follow-up to Noorda's mid-1966 investigations and an essential prelude to Unimark's subsequent formulation of comprehensive signage guidelines. It needed to do more to make the subway system navigable. Leave a Reply Cancel reply. Instead the TA sought to carry out the proposals on its own using its in-house sign shop. Discover and customize the font Subway and other similar fonts, ready to share in Facebook and Twitter. Most were lettered in some form of sans serif capitals—regular, condensed, square-countered, chamfered, outlined—though some were in bracketed or slab serif roman capitals. The 1989 MTA Manual listed the following equipment: digital type (Linotronic), phototype (Compugraphic and typositor), tape-based lettering systems (Kroy and Merlin), computer-driven letter- and stencil-cutting systems (Gerber Signmaker), vinyl self-adhesive letters (from various manufacturers) and fabricated or cut-out letters in plastic and other materials. The MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority), who runs the New York City Subway, mainly uses Helvetica for their fonts. (The Grand Street station uses Delft blue letters instead.). Several characters were drawn following those of Akzidenz-Grotesk: Q, R and 2, for instance. Click to find the best 13 free fonts in the Subway style. Whether actual signs were prepared with Helvetica as a result is unclear, but Helveticization was around the corner. Other weights followed in the next few years. information design. Night Map. Similar considerations would have occurred to the sign shop regarding its typesetting capabilities. 555 . The entire Milan system won Noorda and the architects the Premio Compasso d'Oro in 1964. The sign system that Noorda and Vignelli first proposed to the NYCTA in 1966 has proved remarkably resilient. The test itself was done by the TA—I don't recall who was present at the 47–50 Street station, but it could well have been Jacques and Len. The 1980 sizes of type were kept. As if in response to the confusion engendered by the “big switch,” the first page of the manual emphatically insisted,that there “must be no overlapping of old and new signs. Station names and exit signs were set in all caps while informational signs were set in upper- and lowercase characters. By 1965 Helvetica began to appear in award-winning designs and advertising, principally from graphic designers working for Unimark and CCA in Chicago, and at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The ”MTA Gets You There“ campaign was only one instance of their mix-and-match sensibility. The (Mostly) True Story of Helvetica and the New York City Subway. In 1973, an inter-agency marketing campaign entitled ”MTA Gets You There“ was launched by the MTA to boost ridership. Forbes acknowledged this years later in A Sign Systems Manual (1970) when he wrote: “Since this amended design was produced a new typeface, Helvetica, has been issued. This font belongs to the following categories: brand fonts, latinic fonts. The typeface was Standard Medium. '“ This was the first official appearance of Helvetica in the sign system. All of this activity should have boded well for the Unimark signage system. 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