London Underground

In 1913 Edward Johnston was introduced to the manager of the London Underground Group, Frank Pick. Pick wanted help in remodeling the Underground to make it more attractive and effective to the public. Then hopefully resulting in an increased income from the system. He also wanted it so it can make everything easier to navigate, find and identify Underground Railroad. So he asked Johnston to help and come up with a new type to use in the Underground Railroads. He first used his typeface in wooden block prints for posters. He is using his type on the London Underground bullseye symbol that is commonly found throughout the Underground. In February 1916, Edward Johnston’s first examples he submitted for this project were Capital letter block letter type. During 1916 to 1917 Edward Johnston redesigned the logo to the bar and circle that is still in use today. His typeface was put in and used during refurbishing starting in the 1920s to the 1930s. They also used it as new extensions were being built during this time. His final submission has been changed since they rebranded with it. Since then only slight changes have happened in 1979 to his original idea that he had put forth. A Japanese designer named Eiichi Kono revised Edward Johnston’s lettering. They did this by making Edward Johnston’s bold and italic fonts and little changes in the proportioning of a few of the letters. They now have a memorial today since 2017 at Farringdon Station, of Edward Johnston’s typeface that was used in the London Underground Railroad.


“Edward Johnston: The Man behind London’s Lettering.” London Transport Museum, 22 Sept. 2020,

Discussion — One Response

  • Amaya Al-Mussawir 04/13/2022 on 8:14 PM

    Hey Madelyn-

    This is such an interesting perspective. Having a separate font became a part of the Underground’s identity, which is exactly what Frank Pick set out to accomplish more than a hundred years ago. Of course the most iconic part of the Underground’s logo is the bar and circle that surrounds the font. The primary colors make it stand out from whatever environment it might be in, and the colors also double as the colors on the British flag. The included picture of the actual typeface is such an interesting addition to this post. I would not have imagined the lettering to be that big, but I guess it makes sense that it is!


Sorry, but commenting has been disabled.