Posts tagged ‘typography’

Toronto Subway now kickin’ it oldstyle

Sample of various oldstyle figures in the Toronto Subway fonts.

Toronto Subway oldstyle figures

All four Toronto Subway desktop fonts now include optional oldstyle figures. The addition of oldstyle figures came from a request I received from the Swedish Comics Association for the redesign of their magazine, Bild & Bubbla. » There’s more! Continue reading “Toronto Subway now kickin’ it oldstyle”

Signs and labels at TTC Russell Carhouse

Car door at TTC Russell Carhouse, labelled "7," "2" and "DOOR #3"

Multi-labelled car door at TTC Russell Carhouse

Saturday and Sunday, May 24 and 25, 2014 were the dates of the annual Doors Open event in Toronto. Buildings both public and private opened their doors to allow glimpses behind the “Private” and “Do Not Enter” signs of the city.

This year I visited the Toronto Transit Commission’s Russell Carhouse on Queen Street East, with my iPad as my camera. Surrounded by vintage Peter Witt and PCC (Presidents’ Conference Committee), and future Flexity streetcars a few typographic treats were to be found.

Embossed lettering on TTC streetcar tracks: "7NA-X 12-ORH, J40-00511 REV H SN09E 1694 NORTRAK"

Embossed lettering on streetcars tracks on Queen Street West outside TTC Russell Carhouse

It seldom occurs to me to look down for lettering. Access covers (i.e., manhole covers) being one exception. Here was another: embossed lettering on the actual streetcar tracks. The embossing of the “Nortrak” brand name in the above photo is especially attractive, clearly evoking the 19th-century beginnings of rail travel.

Hand-labelled "CALL BELL" at TTC Russell Carhouse

Hand-labelled call bell at TTC Russell Carhouse

Whose diligent and decorative painted lettering identifies this prosaic call bell? The casual elegance of the curves of the “C” and “B” and the exuberant crossbar on the “E” elevate it above the everyday. (This photo is right-side up, by the way.)

Hand-lettered sign at TTC Russell Carhouse: "Valve No 5 with Valve No 4 at S.-W. corner of Bldg. controls all inside Sprs."

Hand-lettered sign at TTC Russell Carhouse

On the outside wall of the carhouse were sun-faded signs, carefully hand-lettered.

Close-up of Valve No 5 sign at TTC Russell Carhouse

Close-up of Valve No 5 sign at TTC Russell Carhouse

The number “5” seems to have been drawn with extra-special care.

What transit app says “Toronto” the most?


Toronto Subway helps TTC Bus Map look sharp.

There are lots of Toronto transit iPhone apps out there. Having one on your iPhone is a must for any transit user in the city, helping you figure out just how much longer you have to wait in -16°C cold for the next Queen streetcar to arrive.

But only one transit app really feels like Toronto. Last month Merch Visoiu updated his TTC Bus Map  to use Toronto Subway. The app uses the font to display names in route lists, and in the heading on its maps and arrival times lists. While TTC Bus Map won’t make the Steeles bus arrive any faster, it will make it feel like it really is the Steeles bus that you’re waiting for.

At 99¢ the ad-free app is a bargain and a nice way to feel more at home with your iPhone. Check it out on the iTunes Store.

Sample TTC Bus Map route display.

A TTC Bus Map route display headed using Toronto Subway.

Toronto Subway presentation at Sheridan College, October 8

From Tile to Type: Rescuing the Toronto subway fonts

Next week I’ll be giving an illustrated presentation at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario, as part of their Art and Art History program of visiting speakers.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013
12:30–1:30 pm

Sheridan College
Annie Smith Arts Centre Mezzanine
1430 Trafalgar Road
Oakville, Ontario

The title of my presentation is From Tile to Type: Rescuing the Toronto subway fonts. I’ll be talking about my decision to create the Toronto Subway fonts, as well as how I went about creating them.

Art and Art History announcement poster PDF