A design rationale for Tube stations

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In December 2015, Transport for London published the London Underground Station Design Idiom – design and user experience guidelines for London Underground stations, if you will.

Ranging from their consistent usage of the Johnston typeface, to the iconic roundel and – of course – the equally iconic Tube map, which constitutes a design feat in its own right, TfL always had a strong foundation in design thinking.

London Underground stations from very different eras and styles – Victorian, Art Deco, as well as (Post)modern – are among the most readily recognizable urban architecture associated with London.

The Design Idiom published last year attempts to formalize design criteria and principles for creating a pleasant, consistent and forward-looking user experience for Tube stations, both new and already existing ones. This kind of emphasis on and passion for good design is quite rare in urban planning and hence can’t be acknowledged enough in my opinion.

An article by London Reconnections outlines the Design Idiom and the ideas behind it in more detail. If you’re interested in design, both the article and the Design Idiom itself are very much worth the read, especially if you’re a frequent or occasional Tube user. You’ll see the tremendous effort that goes into this system and especially into keeping it running with different, more aware eyes (if you haven’t done so already).

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