While Transport has since been an enduring success on road signs, it was designed around the specific needs of the roadside environment - such as visibility at speed and in all weathers. The subsequent creation of Rail Alphabet was intended to provide a style of lettering more specifically suited to the station environment, where it would primarily be viewed indoors by pedestrians. The included a new logo (the double arrow), a shortened name, and the total adoption of Rail Alphabet for all lettering other than printed matter including station signage, trackside signs, fixed notices, signs inside trains and train liveries.
If you’ve never noticed their work before – because they never really intended you to notice it – hopefully you’ll never look at a train number the same way again. Bibliography and further reading Boocock, Colin (2000): Railway Liveries: BR Traction 1948-1995. Ian Allen: Shepperton Cousins, James (1986): British Rail Design. Danish Design Council: Copenhagen Garfield, Simon (2010): Just My Type. Profile Books: London Green, Chris and Hall, Professor Sir Peter (2009): Better Rail Stations. Her Majesty’s Stationery Office: London.
New Rail Alphabet Bold Free Font The best website for free high-quality New Rail Alphabet Bold fonts, with 44 free New Rail Alphabet Bold fonts for immediate download, and 49 professional New Rail Alphabet Bold fonts for the best price on the Web. At the heart of the British Rail Corporate Identity stands Rail Alphabet. The Rail Safety and Standards Board still specify the font for a number of types of.
“It’s ordinary,” she said. “People think nobody designed it, because it’s ordinary.”¹ Rail Alphabet is all about the message, not the medium.
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It’s a testament to the quality of Calvert and Kinneir’s work that years since the rest of British Rail’s rail blue corporate identity has vanished, Rail Alphabet soldiers on, doing what it does, as well as it does. If you’ve never noticed their work before – because they never really intended you to notice it – hopefully you’ll never look at a train number the same way again. Bibliography and further reading Boocock, Colin (2000): Railway Liveries: BR Traction 1948-1995.
It was a mixed upper and lower case typeface, instantly looking more friendly than Gill Sans. It was well proportioned, with nicely rounded ‘0’s, ‘o’s and ‘O’s for instance – unlike the rectangular locomotive lettering. It would go on to be applied everywhere across the British Rail network, including the company’s road vehicles, hovercraft and ships. Because this blog doesn’t feature hovercraft very often, here is Rail Alphabet on a cross-channel hovercraft: British Rail operated cross-channel hovercraft like this one under the Seaspeed brand between 1966 and 1981. Photo by 70023venus2009  via It wasn’t actually British Rail’s first go at a new typeface for the rail blue corporate identity. The company had been much impressed by launched in the 1960s.
This is Charing Cross in 2002. The Rail Alphabet departure board dates from British Rail days, while later signage (with blue backgrounds) is in Railtrack’s Brunel typeface. Photo by James Gibbon at en.wikipedia (Own work) [ or ], Deliberately, Rail Alphabet is neither showy nor shouty. Calvert described it as “low-key”, intended to stand out from the commercial signage at stations which was more flamboyant. “It’s ordinary,” she said. “People think nobody designed it, because it’s ordinary.”¹ Rail Alphabet is all about the message, not the medium. It is designed with simplicity in mind, to give information without the character of the lettering distracting from or overwhelming the message being conveyed.
I’m lost in admiration for people who can distinguish accurately the identity of fonts. I don’t find it nearly so easy, so thank you.
While the road sign pictograms that accompanied Transport on Britain’s road signs were designed by Calvert, I’ve yet to absolutely confirm whether those that accompanied Rail Alphabet were too, or whether they were the work of Design Research Unit, which created BR’s double arrow logo. Signage at stations was almost exclusively in black text on white backgrounds. It was a significant change from the Gill Sans signage it ousted, which had featured white text on darker coloured backgrounds. There’s no convincing evidence that one is better than the other, and for every study I’ve read finding that dark text on light backgrounds is more legible than light on dark, I’ve read another that has found the exact opposite. Only a cynic would note that it keeps sign manufacturers busy if transport operators are kept in a state of confusion as to which is better, and regularly swap between one and the other. Camtasia studio 2018 key. Rail Alphabet signage at Preston station. This is a typical BR scene, Rail Alphabet in black on a white background, distinctive directional arrows and pictograms, and everything (sign and building) a bit grimy.
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Rail Alphabet. Picture by Pneumaman (UniversSpec.png) [ or ],, was one of the most comprehensive ever adopted by any British transport company, and indeed probably any transport company (you can read two earlier entries about it and ). It was designed to wipe out the existing hotchpotch of styles and motifs which had graphically illustrated the confused nature of the business from its creation in 1948 until that point.
Photo by Rob Reedman  via It didn’t take long before others noticed that Rail Alphabet was one of the best wayfinding typefaces out there. British Airports Authority adopted it for its airports (see a picture ), and the Danish state railway operator DSB imported it too (see a picture ). Years later, this debt would be acknowledged in the preface to a book about British Rail’s design work, which was published by the Danish Design Council and featured a foreword by Jens Nielsen, Director of Design, Danish State Railways (Cousins, 1986: p2). However, the place most British people would have seen Rail Alphabet outside British Rail was at the country’s public hospitals, where it was used on directional signage. It’s no great surprise: both British Rail and the National Health Service were large public sector organisations, both operated large public buildings with complicated layouts, and both needed a typeface which would work well on signage directing the public around their premises. It did mean, however, that if you were in a hospital and presented with directional signage, there was a subconscious feeling that you might be about to miss a train.