Last Updated: Wednesday, February 01, 2017

“Mind The Font” Reminds Us About The Impact Of Typography And Signage On Crowds And Cuture
Updated: Tuesday, March 08, 2016

London's Underground signage. A lasting impression for a century. Photo: London Underground

The writer Matilda Battersby, inspired by an exhibition opening this weekend in East Sussex, England (March 12 to September 11), reflected on the enduring impact of London's transit signage.

The exhibition, “Underground: 100 years of Edward Johnston’s lettering for London” tells the story of calligrapher Edward Johnston and his assistant Eric Gill. Together, the artists created the unique typography and signage for London’s famed public transportation systems.

In Ms. Battersby’s article, with the genius headline ”Mind the font,”she explores the success of Mr. Johnston’s creative effort in achieving legible typography and signage for London’s traveling public. “We are bombarded with visual clutter all the time,” author Sarah Hyndman told Ms. Battersby. “Johnston Sans [font] is a clear language which we recognize and don't have to think about.”

. Crowd Management Strategies’ Paul Wertheimer added---in the context of crowd management---problems “arise when signage is looked upon as a cost overhead, rather than for the valuable role it plays in effectively conveying information to the public in a timely manner."

The long and the short of it all, the contribution signage makes to our culture, quality-of-life and to the safety of people in crowds should never be underestimated.

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