In reality, it was somewhat of a disaster. The main culprit was the confusing signage that greeted subway customers and transit officials alike. They quickly ordered the old signs and maps covered with newspapers before the rush set in. But they stood in the same space as decades-old signs originally erected by the defunct transit companies.
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He writes about letter design in the blog Blue Pencil. Shaw makes clear in one of the best-researched books on modern design to date, this most New York of places is today a realm dominated by a Swiss typeface specified by a pair of Italian designers. The Wall Street Journal Endorsements The book is a must read for sign nuts, design nuts, transit nuts, and all true lovers of New York.
It finally tells the true story of the New York subway sign system and shows how even big projects like it are shaped by people and their likes and dislikes; by accidents, prejudice, and half-knowledge. This is a history book, a type book, a design book, and a business book.
His beautifully illustrated book brings a unique perspective to the subject, and is a welcome addition to the vast literature on New York City. Kenneth T. While Helvetica vs. Shaw wonderfully captures the complexity of the undertaking, and shows how the persistence of a few people dedicated to expanding and improving the system over many years had a great impact.
Impeccably researched and gracefully written, it uses a seemingly prosaic subject as a starting point for a fascinating exploration of the way that graphic design developed as a discipline in the 20th century.
Book Review: Helvetica and the New York City Subway System
It takes into account new information and is supplemented by comprehensive notes, a bibliography and a chronology of the New York City subway system. But it is not true - or rather, it is only somewhat true. Helvetica is the official typeface of the MTA today, but it was not the typeface specified by Unimark International when they created the signage system at the end of the s. Why was Helvetica not chosen originally? The resulting story is more than a tale of a typeface. It is a look at the forces that have molded a signage system. We are more than happy to see what the Helvetica font has accomplished, who knew it would have gone this far?
Helvetica and the New York City Subway System