CR March: London Underground 150 special issue

The history of the London Underground is the history of visual communications. We celebrate 150 years of the tube in CR March, where you can read about the evolution of the world-famous roundel, the Underground’s own instantly recognisable typeface, its long tradition of great posters, platform art, maps, merch and more

The history of the London Underground is the history of visual communications. We celebrate 150 years of the tube in CR March, where you can read about the evolution of the world-famous roundel, the Underground’s own instantly recognisable typeface, its long tradition of great posters, platform art, maps, merch and more…

Our cover is by Robert Samuel Hanson – we asked him to imagine the London cityscape 150 years hence. The idea was inspired by Montague B Black’s fantastic Underground poster from 1926, This Is All In The Air, a vision of what London might look like in 2026 (and featured on our contents page).

As for the features, Mark Sinclair’s opening piece introduces a new book from Mark Ovenden, London Underground by Design (Penguin), the first study to comprehensively examine all aspects of the tube’s design evolution, from architecture and signage, to lettering and logos.

 

Next, writer, blogger and public transport devotee, Ian Jones (author of 150greatthingsabouttheunderground.com), selects ten interesting things for CR readers to look out for on the Underground network on a design-spotting day out.

And Mark Sinclair asks Harry Beck authority Ken Garland what he makes of a new London Underground map concept by the designer, Mark Noad.

Gavin Lucas investigates the enduring appeal of Edward Johnston’s eponymous typeface, commissioned 100 years ago.

Michael Evamy reports on how Parisian street signs, bull’s eyes and perhaps even a total eclipse of the sun all played a part in the design story of the Underground’s word-famous roundel.

And Patrick Burgoyne takes a look at London Transport Museum’s new exhibition of 150 key pieces from its archive and speaks to some of the panel of experts who selected them.

The Underground is also home to many large scale public art and design projects: Mark Sinclair takes a look at the history of platform art and talks to artist Annabel Grey about her commissions for Finsbury Park and Marble Arch stations.

London Transport Museum’s head of trading, Michael Walton, talks to Patrick Burgoyne about TfL’s clever approach to brand licensing and merchandising which earns it millions each year.

And Anna Richardson Taylor explores the Underground’s communications and advertising, past and present.

It’s not all about the London Underground; the issue also has a feature in which Patrick Burgoyne talks to designer Mark Farrow and John Lewis brand creative Paul Porral about their collaboration on the identity of Kin, a new range of fashion basics at the department store.

And in Crit, Rick Poynor reviews a new book, Branding Terror, which brings together the graphic symbols and logos used by terrorist organisations.

Regular columnist Daniel Benneworth-Grey reflects on how working home alone gives him the time to concentrate, reflect and talk to inanimate objects; while Paul Belford looks at how an ad art directed by Helmut Krone in 1980 managed to do away with everything bar the product demo.

Plus, in this month’s Monograph, we showcase a number of photographs by Adam Hinton of political graffiti in Egypt, with an introduction by Paul Belford.

Please note, CR now has a limited presence on the newsstand at WH Smith high street stores (although it can still be found in WH Smith travel branches at train stations and airports). If you cannot find a copy of CR in your town, your WH Smith store or a local independent newsagent can order it for you. If you would like to buy this issue, or subscribe to CR, you can do so direct from us here.

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