Genius

Edward Johnston has created one of the most iconic symbols in the transport systems the roundel of the London underground doesn’t matter where you go if you see that roundel systems you know is certainly about England. It has been even used for tourists t-shirts, mugs, key holders…The symbol indeed a very successful design.

I came across a site called the `Edward Johnston Foundation´ a site that is dedicated to the promotion of public awareness of calligraphy, it says that by his teaching and practice almost single-handedly revived the art of formal penmanship which had lain moribund for four centuries. Johnston passion for calligraphy was clear he had started to use something that no one else was no longer interested on it the `penmanship´. It says as well that the sans-serif alphabet he designed for the London Underground Railways changed the face of typography in the twentieth century whilst two of the most popular types of our day ‘Perpetua’ and ‘Gill Sans’ were by his great pupil Eric Gill (1882-1940). [ejf.org]

I think that statement just reveals hoe great his was not only has a typographer but has a Teacher. Certainly every one would agree that type was a breath of fresh air for that period.

Trying to find out something else about Edward Johnston in relation to the underground I came across London Transport Museum site it says that In 1913 the Underground’s publicity manager, Frank Pick, asked the typographer Edward Johnston to design a company typeface and by 1917 the proportions of the roundel had been reworked to suit the new lettering and incorporate the Underground logotype, that Johnston has created the solid red disc became a circle, and the new symbol was registered as a trademark.[ltmcoll]


Section from an anonymous poster, 1920.
Reference number: 1983/4/856 image
taken from:[ltmcoll]

It says that in 1919 Johnston’s roundel symbol was being used. It began to appear on station exteriors and platform name boards from the beginning of 1920s. .[ltmcoll]


Johnston’s roundel on platform name board, 1933.
Reference number: 1998/81853
image taken from:[ltm]

Reproduction of the roundel and he used to call it the proportions of the bullseye they They continue to detail that in 1920 Johnston introduced exact guidelines for the were re-designed to the standards of the company typeface. [ltm]

It is impossible to thing about the underground and not to think about Johnston, as a genius of an ever and iconic symbol that is the roundel, of the London underground

Johnston has definitely change the face of the London Transport of the modern times a more appealing and modern company.

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