A curious case of London blinds

328 FrontA curious case of London bus blinds - a route through type design, typography and signage

The importance of bus blinds is confirmed in the more than six million bus journeys that are made every day in London, each one starting with the passenger looking up at the blinds. These blinds show the route number and destination; they are the shop doorway to the entire bus network.

Doug Rose will explain how he designed four variants of the famous Johnston typeface, (originally used to unite the London Underground group), to make it suitable for buses. Doug will discuss the display restrictions and legibility challenges relating to the readability from varying distances and angles, as well as under different lighting conditions.

This talk will be as much about type design and typography as signage. He will tackle the Equality Act 2010 (formerly the DDA) guidelines head on, demonstrating how the guidelines fail to understand the real issues at stake.


Doug Rose is Managing Director at FWT, an information design agency specialising in passenger transport information. He joined FWT in 1979 as a specialist in transport mapping and rapidly developed an interest in typography, signage, information design and printing. He became aware, and later in awe, of London Transport’s ‘Johnston’ typeface. Questioning how could a typeface look so simple and work so well. Doug believes the answer belies a simplicity - it is not simple. Doug has been involved in many projects outside of London; devising and implementing signage and wayfinding throughout a number of UK bus stations and city centres, including the touch screen displays at Wolverhampton bus station.


Date: 10th November 2016

Time: 6.30 pm

Venue: Steer Davies Gleave, 28-32 Upper Ground, London SE1 9PD

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