Remastering London Undergrounds’ Iconic Typeface

2016 marks 100 years of Edward Johnston’s typeface which binds together the visual identity of London’s transport network. Described as the ‘typographic voice of London’ Johnston’s typeface has remained largely the same for the last century, used throughout Transport for London’s signage, posters and architecture.

The expansion of London’s transport system places new demands on the typeface, from station maps to mobile apps, requiring the design to be expanded and updated. This had to be done without compromising on Johnston’s originals intentions.

Monotype was commissioned by Transport for London (TfL) to remaster their Johnston typeface. Monotype designers Malou Verlomme and Nadine Chahine worked closely with Jon Hunter, Head of Design at TfL to remaster the Johnston typeface for digital use and expand it to five weights. 

“Our brief to Monotype was to go back to the original principles of Johnston, to reflect on the way the font is now, and see what we might have lost in its 100-year journey,” said TfL Head of Design Jon Hunter.

An original drawing of Johnston from February 1916

Some examples of original and remastered glyphs:

The new Johnston100 family includes five weights of the design, including two brand new weights: Hairline and Thin. The result, especially the Hairline, is contemporary in flavour without undermining the characteristics that make it recognisable.

Johnston100 will be rolled out by TfL starting July 2016. Initially it will be used for printed material such as tube maps and posters, but over time the typeface will be used within TfL’s trains and station signage, including London’s new Crossrail Elizabeth Line – scheduled to open in 2018.

More images and information here.