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Type in the Toronto Subway

Renovations and lack of structure compound subway signage problems

This is an interesting study by journalist and consultant Joe Clark. The study looks back at the historical, logical and stylish presence Toronto's subways once obtained. It also goes into great detail about the many points of contact the systems current signage fails to best serve the public. Clark takes you through introduction of the subway's custom font (whose original creator and font name remain unknown) to the horrible hodge-podge 'fixes' the subway system has resorted to in several of it's stations.



* Station maintained with original style sandblasted into tiled wall.




* Hodge-podge inkjet prints attempt to properly direct




* Recent attempts for improvement only obstruct current directional signage


This study is definitely worth a look and if you have the time, read all the details. The points made are accurate in construction and certainly typographic basics. In my opinion, there are shocking similarities found in this study to a number of signage systems we all find in public everyday. I only hope that the governing bodies responsible for maintaining and growing our municipal common areas are taking notes. Clark does an excellent job of showing us how bad an intended communications system can get when it is no longer practiced and protected.







* Original sans typeface designed for the city's subway


(images via Joe Clark's page)

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