Custom typeface for station signage. 1 typeface, 7 fonts.
The brief was to design a new typeface that would relate to the original Rail Alphabet used on signs in the 1960s, and to make sure it integrated well with the new wayfinding and pictogram system designed by Spaceagency. The new system of signs, pictograms and typography has a lighter typographic voice than the signs from the 60’s and is far more readable than the current dark blue signs with reversed out type. The design process was one of collaboration; Margaret Calvert would draw by hand, and we would work on-screen. With input from Network Rail, Spaceagency and station architect WestonWilliamson+Partners, we arrived at Rail Alphabet 2, a highly legible and modern typeface with a clear historical lineage. Rail Alphabet 2, is a comprehensive digital typeface (each font weight has a character set of more than 500 glyphs) consisting of 7 fonts; a special weight designed for signs, and three font styles including Italics crafted for all other text settings for print, online and for mobile. Rail Alphabet 2 has sharp junctions, and the proportions are a little narrower than the original Rail Alphabet. There is also a difference in application, the original signs from 1965 used a Bold weight, in contrast the new signs use a Medium weight. The project is featured at the Design Museum in the 'Margaret Calvert: Woman at Work' exhibition. 21 October 2020 – 10 January 2021. All images © A2-TYPE + Spaceagency.