Essay plan

Proposed title – From the A-Z to Google maps, how typography has changed wayfinding in Britain 

I will focus on three main points that I believe have had a huge significance on wayfinding in Britain.  These are

  1. Phyllis Pearsall and her development of the London A-Z
  2. Edward Johnston and Harry Beck and their development of the London Tube Map – touching on the development of Gill Sans, inspired by Johnston’s typeface and how this is now known as an iconic British typeface.
  3. Margaret Calvert and Jock Kinneir and the development of the street sign system

I will begin my essay with a basic definition of wayfinding and the significance of this is major cities (focus on London as the home of the A-Z and the Underground design)

I will then go on to examine the historical information regarding each of these people and, of course, their contribution to society. For example how iconic and vital the London Tube Map is for those travelling in the capital.

I will research and mention the differences between signage in other countries and compare and contrast it with British signage. I will attempt to suggest why it is different across the globe and whether this is an important feature.

Finally I will investigate how these designs have developed with the use of new technologies – for example it is possible to map your route through your smartphone or the internet and to find your way to places via satellite navigation – something that would never have been thought possible in the days before an accurate map was produced.

I will achieve my research through reading books and articles and visiting the London Transport Museum to get a wide spectrum of information, which I can then condense and write my essay from.

Initial Bibliography

Phyllis Pearsall (October 1990). A to Z Maps: The Personal Story – From Bedsitter to Household Name. London: Geographers’ A to Z Map Co Ltd.

CETLD project, Faculty of Arts & Architecture. (2008). Lettering, the legacy of Edward Johnston. Available:—Final-Report–Appendix.pdf. Last accessed 20th Feb 2013.

Phillip Meuser (2010). Wayfinding and Signage : Construction and Design Manual. Berlin: Dom Publishers.

Department for Transport (2007). The Official Highway Code. London: Stationary Office Book 

Transport for London. History. Available: Last accessed 20th Feb 2013.

Phil Baines & Andrew Haslam (2005). Type & Typography. 2nd ed. London: Laurence King Publishing. 172-176

Michael Johnson (2002). Problem Solved. New York: Phaidon Press Limited. 171-176.

Cennydd Bowles . (2009). Wayfinding Through Technology. Available: Last accessed 19th Feb 2013.

Ralf Herrmann. (2010). Margaret Calvert, designer of the British road signs . Available: Last accessed 19th Feb 2013. 

Ralf Herrmann. (2010). Empirical Study about the legibility of typefaces used on signs in public space. Available: Last accessed 19th Feb 2013.

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