A Brand for London

A typeface for London

Posted in Thoughts by Moving Brands on August 27, 2009

Which typeface is relevant for London?

Johnston (Image from Wikipedia)
Designed by Edward Johnson in 1913 it has been used continuously on the London Underground with a number of updates over the years. It’s still going strong today and doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere quickly.

20090827_gill_sans

Gill Sans
Heavily influenced by Johnston, Eric Gill completed Gill Sans in 1926. It’s become visual shorthand for Britishness because of its use by institutions like British Railways, Penguin and the BBC.

20090827_clarendon

Clarendon
Even older than Johnston and Gill Sans, Clarendon has been around since 1845 and hails from the Clerkenwell area of London.

20090827_alburt

Albertus
Designed by Berthold Wolpe between 1932 – 1940, partly when he was living in London. It’s the typeface of choice for the Corporation of London, and is still used heavily around the City and Barbican areas.

20090827_clerkenwell

FS Clerkenwell (Image from Font Smith)
A modern take on the same part of the city that gave us Clarendon. Designed by London-based Fontsmith, it’s got a Victorian feel to it but with modern sensibilities.

20090827_effra

Effra
Designed by Dalton Maag, a foundry hailing from South East London, Effra is a contemporary typeface which is designed to work as well on screen as it does in print or signage.

Are there any London typefaces we’re missing? And should the typeface for London be iconic / historical, or should it be a typeface designed to work as well on a mobile phone as it does on wayfinding?

 

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10 Responses

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  1. Colin said, on August 27, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Definitely Effra.

  2. Emma (@beingnobody) said, on August 27, 2009 at 11:51 am

    I think the Underground typeface is pretty iconic. Even though the others are quite nice, I see the first one and I immediately think of London.

  3. Ian Styles said, on August 27, 2009 at 11:57 am

    A modern typeface, super functional, adaptable, and capable of being displayed on any device is what’s needed. Wouldn’t it be great if we could develop something that adapts to you depending on your needs? The older you are the larger or more open the type you see? The more the type that’s needed the more in condenses?

    I do like London in caps it feels important and the letterforms work well.

  4. Christopher said, on August 27, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    I second Colin. Effra over Gill Sans solely because of the lack of a spur on the lower-case ‘d’.

  5. martyn reding said, on August 28, 2009 at 10:09 am

    ooooooh a really tricky question. the typeface is going to be key in this project.

    Johnston and Gill have to be front runners really, as they are already an intrinsic part of the city. however clarendon has always seemed ‘very british’ to me – in fact it was recently referred to as the ‘british helvetica’.

    it’s particularly because it needs to reference the city’s history, with an eye to the future, so a big “yes” for a typeface that works well screen.

  6. Phil Baines said, on August 28, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Here are some more ‘letters from London’ for you, older than Johnston, tougher certainly, less ‘educated’, and very lovely:

    BlackfriarsStn_090609 1
  7. […] A typeface for London « A Brand for London abrandforlondon.wordpress.com/2009/08/27/a-typeface-for-london – view page – cached #A Brand for London RSS Feed A Brand for London » A typeface for London Comments Feed A Brand for London Welcome all…so what’s the story? Thoughts from ex-Creative Director of Apple — From the page […]

  8. john said, on September 1, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    i must preface this with the fact that i am an american, but that perspective may be valuable as sometimes myopia can be a stumbling block in the process.

    two typefaces i will forever equate with the uk are monotype’s soho family and the foundry’s foundry sterling.

  9. gatf said, on June 12, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    It’s just a variation on a theme, but what about Johnson Delf Smith?….the serifed form of Johnson that speaks London aloud but has a particular elegance…

  10. […] Which typeface is relevant for London? Johnston (Image from Wikipedia) Designed by Edward Johnson in 1913 it has been used continuously on the London Underground with a number of updates over the years. It's still going strong today and doesn't look like it's going anywhere quickly. Gill Sans Heavily influenced by Johnston, Eric Gill completed Gill Sans in 1926. It's become visual shorthand for Britishness because of its use by institutions like … Read More […]


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