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London Underground updates font for social media

Adapted to better display on apps and social media, the update is the biggest font change for London's famous transport network in 100 years.


An update is coming to a 100-year old classic.

Kent German/CNET

In a day to remember for font geeks and transport nerds alike, Transport for London (TfL) announced yesterday that it was updating the century-old font it uses across the London Underground.

In a blog post by Monotype, the firm that helped TfL adapt the new font, type director Malou Verlomme said the expansion of the word's oldest underground railway (first opened in 1863) has put new demands on the typeface, especially as it publishes maps and information on digital platforms.

Jon Hunter, head of TfL design, told the BBC that changing the font is an "important step forward" for communicating with passengers in the digital age. "As social media has become more important, hashtags and at signs are more important."

Though the differences are small, it's easy to spot the changes on the # and @ symbols in particular (Time Out London has some great images comparing the two). Letters also have been made thinner to better appear on mobile apps.

Called Johnston100, the new font is the biggest update to the font TfL has used since 1916 when it was created by calligrapher Edward Johnston. Though it will initially appear on printed materials, Johnston100 will eventually roll out to signage on stations and trains.