London Transport Type
Last week I had the chance to visit the London Transport Museum in the old Flower Market building in Covent Garden Piazza.
I’d been meaning to go for a while, particularly after the 100th anniversary of Johnston’s pervading typeface last year, and to see the history of the iconic roundel logotype which first appeared in 1908.
With a rich visual heritage spanning 200 years there’s plenty of graphic design and typography to see. There’s a decent sized display dedicated to graphic design and signage of the transport system with lots of printed ephemera. However type and lettering examples cover everything: vintage buses, underground carriages, posters, wayfinding.
Above, you can see some print examples together with hand–painted signage, ceramics, metalwork, and even some beautiful Pouchée type in use.
Numbers in the City
These are just fantastic. Huge aluminium numerals, brightly painted, and each on its own plinth, all on display in the centre of London.
Numbers 1-0 is a piece by Robert Indiana, originally created in the early ’80s. This version is on display as part of Sculpture in the City 2013 where 10 installations are on view around the City of London (you know, the city within London), including Indiana’s more well-known piece, LOVE.
I took these pictures this morning on Lime street, a side road between the famous Lloyds building and other modern, steels and glass structures. Each number is really vibrant setting the usually grey street alight with colour.
Colourful Tree Signage
I love this freehand painted wooden shop sign. I spotted it locally on Exmouth Market (Clerkenwell, London) and it belongs to the independent boutique, Family Tree, named because of its products (including “curious objects”, as seen above) are made by their friends and their families.
I Love Clerkenwell
Today is the start of Clerkenwell Design Week, named after the thriving creative district close to the centre of London. Its the UK’s leading independent design festival and features over 60 showrooms displaying work and will host presentations, workshops and product launches across a broad range of design disciplines.
Clerkenwell is also the historical home of London’s type foundries. At its height, all of the world’s major typefounders had a presence here, packed into this small vibrant area, close to the royal courts. There was even a road called ‘Type Street’, close to Caslon’s foundry and I recently discovered that there were two foundries on my street alone.
In a return to form, the district has recently seen Monotype open a satallite studio here, together with Fontsmith who named a popular typeface after the small enclave.
Clerkenwell is also home to many of London’s design agencies, furniture stores and boasts more architects per square mile than anywhere else on the planet.
Above is one of my favourite designs: a typographic map of Clerkenwell. “Broadside 5” is a letterpress print by letterpress master and typographerAlan Kitching. This map now serves as an historical reminder of the changes in the area, since its printing in 1992. Exmouth Market, to the north, of the is now a buzzing strip of restaurants and independent shop and no longer home to “Oysters, Crabs and Lobsters” nor “Bric-a-brac”. There is however still a Pie & Mash shop and tattoo artist maintaining the East-end feel.
There’s nowhere else in London I’d rather be.
Christian Louboutin Neon letters
I wrote about this Vegas inspired, neon installation for Christian Louboutin while it was on show at the Design Museum in Butlers Wharf, London.
This version feels quite at home in their flagship store in Mount Street and a smaller version in Paris. The mix of colours and shapes is enough to make you want to smash ‘n’ grab them.
Sparkling photography by Susie Rea
Christian Louboutin Neon Graveyard
We collaborated with the team at Christian Louboutin to create an amazing Vegas-inspired typographical installation. Each letter has it’s own story to tell and can be traced back to original Vegas signage. The stainless steel shells house a mix of Pygmy and Golfball bulbs, 4 different colours of neon, backlit perspex and crystal Cabochon. To make sure the window all came together beautifully each letter was powder coated in a rich, bright and glossy colour to match a shoe or a bag in Christian Louboutin’s current collection.
The window was such a success in Mount St that we recreated a smaller version for the flagship Paris store.
Happy Birthday Johnston and the London Underground
This week London sees the 150th anniversary of the London Underground. To commemorate the occasion a stream locomotive used in the 19th century made a journey through the modern tunnels of the Metropolitan line. See more on the BBC
It is also 100 years since its iconic typeface Johnston Sans was released as the the ‘Underground’ typeface. Dan Rhatigan, type director at Monotype and forthcoming interviewee of 8 Faces talks about Edward Johnston and the typeface here.
The structured, based on a calligraphic nib held at a 45 degree angle, is emphasised by Johnston’s diamond tittle shapes (the dots over the i and j), one of it’s most recognisable characteristics.
"Say Something" A festive feeling, light-up, lettering display that I snapped in Habitat’s West End store in London (at Habitat)
Giant letters and hidden messages
Today was the last day of the giant children’s blocks exhibited along London’s Southbank. As part of the Southbank Centre’s Festival of the World, these colourful cubes were suspended high above the street or sitting on the ground. They varied in size from 18 inches to 10 feet.
At first glance the blocks seem to have been scattered at random, however, when seen from specific viewpoints, they line up—appearing to be at the same size—to reveal hidden messages. The statements such as “ask why”, “change” and “Embrace!” changed throughout the summer.
Designed by artists Trey Watkins and Cameron Brown, the exhibition celebrated the power of art to change lives.
Top photo by Linda Nylind © Southbank Centre
Transport for London (TFL) has commissioned this uplifting artwork to promote cycling in London. Inspirational wording has been moulded into bike frames which have been shot in sunny, green settings from across the city.
The overall feeling is of a utopian cycle haven. I’ve cycled in London almost every day for eight or nine years and while it’s not perfect—it is certainly improving and becoming more popular all the time. I especially like the lighting in these images, which apparently was hard to achieve in all the rain!
Seen all over the capital in advertising and information materials, it was produced by M&C Saatchi and created by Andrew Long and James Millers. The photography was commissioned to Jason Hindley and the CGI to Smoke & Mirrors.
The Missing ‘W’, Ben Eine
One of the first posts I wrote on Type Worship showed the creation of Ben Eine’s “Shutter Front” print being created while attempting to beat the world record for the most number of screen printed colours in a limited edition print. Each is hand-pulled producing a outstanding seventy-seven colour screen print.
You may notice, however, that in the 5x5 alphabet grid, the wide ‘W’ is omitted.
So as not to miss out on any letters, the Certificate of Authenticity features the missing character, screen printed and sprayed in gold and black.
Great cover artwork for the Waitrose Weekend free paper. Illustrated by Andy Smith to coincide with The Olympics. (Taken with Instagram)