top of page

Lash babes

Public·37 members
Colton Rogers
Colton Rogers

New Rail Alphabet Font: A Modern and Versatile Typeface with a History


New Rail Alphabet Font: A Revival of a Classic Typeface




Introduction




New Rail Alphabet is a typeface that was designed by Margaret Calvert in the early 1960s for the British Railways. It was part of a comprehensive signage system that aimed to improve the clarity and consistency of information for passengers and staff. The typeface was also adopted by other public institutions, such as the National Health Service and the Danish State Railways, and became a symbol of modernity and efficiency.




New Rail Alphabet Font



However, over the years, the original typeface was modified and distorted by various users, losing some of its original qualities and charm. In 2009, Henrik Kubel, a Danish type designer and co-founder of A2-TYPE, collaborated with Margaret Calvert to revive and expand the typeface, creating New Rail Alphabet. The new version preserves the essence of the original design, but adds more weights, italics, and characters, making it more versatile and suitable for contemporary use.


In this article, we will explore the history and features of New Rail Alphabet, as well as some examples of its use in graphic design and typography. We will also discuss why this typeface is still relevant and appealing today, and how you can get it for your own projects.


The History of New Rail Alphabet




The Original Rail Alphabet




The original Rail Alphabet was designed by Margaret Calvert in 1960-1961, as part of a larger project to redesign the signage system for the British Railways. The project was commissioned by Colin Anderson, the director of design research at British Railways, who wanted to create a more unified and user-friendly visual identity for the railway network.


Margaret Calvert worked with Jock Kinneir, her former tutor and partner at Kinneir Calvert Associates, a design consultancy that specialized in signage and wayfinding. They had previously designed the signage system for the UK's roads, which introduced the Transport typeface, another iconic design by Calvert.


The challenge for the railway signage was to create a typeface that was clear, legible, and distinctive, but also compatible with the existing infrastructure and equipment. Calvert drew inspiration from Akzidenz Grotesk, a classic sans serif typeface from Germany, but modified it to make it more friendly and humanistic. She also simplified some of the letterforms to avoid confusion or ambiguity.


The result was a typeface that had a clean and modern appearance, but also a warm and welcoming personality. It was designed in two versions: Rail Alphabet 1 for large signs and headings, and Rail Alphabet 2 for smaller signs and text. The typeface was used in combination with pictograms and color codes to create a comprehensive signage system that covered all aspects of railway travel.


The Adoption and Evolution of Rail Alphabet




Rail Alphabet was first implemented in 1964 at Liverpool Street Station in London, and gradually rolled out to other stations across the country. It received positive feedback from both passengers and staff, who appreciated its clarity and consistency. It also won several awards and recognition from the design community.


The typeface was also adopted by other public institutions that wanted to improve their communication and image. For example, in 1965, the National Health Service (NHS) commissioned Kinneir Calvert Associates to design a signage system for their hospitals, using Rail Alphabet as the main typeface. The NHS also used Rail Alphabet for their logo until 1999.


In 1972, the Danish State Railways (DSB) hired Kinneir Calvert Associates to design a signage system for their stations, using a modified version of Rail Alphabet that incorporated some Danish characters. The DSB also used Rail Alphabet for their logo until 2006.


However, over the years, Rail Alphabet also faced some challenges and changes. Some users altered or distorted the typeface to fit their needs or preferences, compromising its legibility and integrity. Some stations replaced or removed some signs due to maintenance or renovation issues. Some new technologies and formats required new adaptations or solutions. As a result, Rail Alphabet lost some of its original qualities and charm.


The Revival of New Rail Alphabet




The Collaboration between Margaret Calvert and Henrik Kubel




In 2007, Henrik Kubel, a Danish type designer and co-founder of A2-TYPE, a London-based independent type foundry, contacted Margaret Calvert to propose a collaboration to revive and expand Rail Alphabet The Launch of New Rail Alphabet




In 2009, after two years of work, Kubel and Calvert launched New Rail Alphabet, a digital revival and expansion of the original typeface. New Rail Alphabet features six weights: off white, white, light, medium, bold and black, with non-aligning numerals, corresponding italics and a set of Eastern European characters. The new version preserves the essence of the original design, but adds more flexibility and functionality for contemporary use.


New Rail Alphabet was first used by Network Rail, the owner and operator of most of the rail infrastructure in Great Britain, for their new wayfinding signage system. The system was designed by A2/SW/HK and tested at London Bridge station in 2010. It aimed to improve the navigation and information for passengers and staff, using a combination of New Rail Alphabet, pictograms, color codes and maps. The system was also intended to be adaptable and scalable for different stations and scenarios.


New Rail Alphabet was also used by other clients and projects that appreciated its clarity and elegance. For example, it was used by the Royal College of Art in London for their identity and signage, by the British Library for their exhibition signage, by the Design Museum in London for their exhibition graphics, and by the Government Digital Service for their website design.


The Features of New Rail Alphabet




The Letterforms




New Rail Alphabet is a neo-grotesque sans serif typeface, which means it has no serifs (the small strokes at the end of the main strokes) and it has a relatively uniform stroke width. It belongs to the same category as other famous typefaces such as Helvetica, Arial and Univers.


However, New Rail Alphabet has some distinctive features that make it stand out from other neo-grotesques. For example, it has a high x-height (the height of the lowercase letters), which makes it more legible at small sizes. It also has some humanistic touches, such as the curved tail of the lowercase l, the angled stroke of the uppercase A, and the rounded dots of the i and j. These features give the typeface a friendly and approachable character.


New Rail Alphabet also has some simplified letterforms that avoid confusion or ambiguity. For example, it has a single-story lowercase a and g, which are easier to distinguish from other letters than their double-story counterparts. It also has a straight-legged uppercase R, which is different from the curved-legged uppercase B. These features make the typeface more clear and consistent.


The Weights and Italics




New Rail Alphabet has six weights: off white, white, light, medium, bold and black. The weights range from very thin to very thick, offering a variety of options for different contexts and purposes. The weights also have corresponding italics, which are slightly slanted versions of the upright letters. The italics can be used for emphasis or contrast.


The weights and italics are designed to work well together, creating a harmonious and balanced typographic system. They can be combined or mixed to create different effects and moods. For example, using a lighter weight for headings and a heavier weight for text can create a sense of hierarchy and importance. Using an italic weight for quotes or captions can create a sense of movement and dynamism.


The Characters




New Rail Alphabet has a large set of characters that cover various languages and scripts. It supports Latin-based languages such as English, French, Spanish, German and Italian. It also supports Eastern European languages such as Polish, Czech, Hungarian and Romanian. It has special characters such as accented letters, ligatures (two or more letters joined together), fractions (numbers with a slash), symbols (such as currency signs) and punctuation marks (such as commas and periods).


New Rail Alphabet also has some alternative characters that can be used for stylistic or functional reasons. For example, it has an alternative lowercase l with a straight tail instead of a curved one. It also has an alternative uppercase I with horizontal bars instead of vertical ones. These characters can be used to create more variety or distinction in the typeface.


The Examples of New Rail Alphabet




The Network Rail Wayfinding Signage System




One of the most prominent examples of New Rail Alphabet is the wayfinding signage system designed by A2/SW/HK for Network Rail. The system uses New Rail Alphabet in various weights and sizes to provide clear and consistent information for passengers and staff at railway stations.


The system uses four main types of signs: directional signs (which show where to go), identification signs (which show where you are), information signs (which show what you need to know) and regulatory signs (which show what you need to do). The system also uses pictograms, color codes and maps to complement the text and enhance the visual communication.


The system follows a set of design principles that ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of the signage. For example, the system uses a hierarchical structure that organizes the information from general to specific, a modular structure that allows for easy updates and changes, and a consistent structure that maintains the same format and style across different signs.


The system also follows a set of typographic principles that ensure the legibility and readability of the text. For example, the system uses a generous line spacing and letter spacing that create enough white space and breathing room for the text, a clear contrast between the text color and the background color that make the text stand out and easy to see, and a proper alignment and positioning of the text that make the text flow and easy to follow.


The Royal College of Art Identity and Signage




Another example of New Rail Alphabet is the identity and signage designed by A2/SW/HK for the Royal College of Art (RCA), a public research university in London that specializes in art and design. The identity and signage were part of a larger project to rebrand and reposition the RCA as a leading institution in the creative sector.


The identity uses New Rail Alphabet in various weights and sizes to create a simple and elegant logo that represents the RCA's name and values. The logo consists of three elements: the acronym RCA in bold black, the full name Royal College of Art in light gray, and a horizontal line that separates and connects the two. The logo can be used in different orientations and configurations, depending on the context and purpose.


The signage uses New Rail Alphabet in various weights and sizes to provide clear and consistent information for visitors and staff at the RCA's campuses. The signage follows a similar design approach as the Network Rail wayfinding signage system, using a combination of text, pictograms, color codes and maps. The signage also reflects the RCA's identity and culture, using a vibrant palette of colors that represent the different schools and disciplines within the RCA.


The Relevance and Appeal of New Rail Alphabet




The Timelessness of New Rail Alphabet




New Rail Alphabet is a typeface that has stood the test of time. It was designed more than 60 years ago, but it still looks fresh and modern today. It has a timeless quality that transcends trends and fashions. It has a universal appeal that works well in different contexts and cultures.


New Rail Alphabet is also a typeface that adapts to change. It was designed for a specific purpose, but it has evolved and expanded over the years. It has embraced new technologies and formats, such as digital screens and web fonts. It has accommodated new languages and scripts, such as Eastern European characters. It has responded to new needs and challenges, such as accessibility and sustainability.


The Versatility of New Rail Alphabet




New Rail Alphabet is a typeface that offers a lot of versatility. It has a wide range of weights, italics, characters, alternative characters, symbols, punctuation marks, fractions, ligatures etc., which provide many options for different contexts and purposes. It can be used for large signs and headings, as well as for small signs and text. It can be used for formal and official documents, as well as for informal and personal projects. It can be used for print and digital media, as well as for web and mobile applications.


New Rail Alphabet is also a typeface that creates a lot of variety and contrast. It can be combined or mixed with other typefaces, such as serif, script, or display fonts, to create different effects and moods. It can also be manipulated or customized with different colors, sizes, alignments, or styles, to create different expressions and meanings.


The Personality of New Rail Alphabet




New Rail Alphabet is a typeface that has a lot of personality. It has a clean and modern appearance, but also a warm and welcoming personality. It has a simple and elegant form, but also a distinctive and memorable character. It has a clear and consistent structure, but also a friendly and humanistic touch.


New Rail Alphabet is also a typeface that communicates a lot of values and messages. It conveys a sense of clarity and efficiency, but also a sense of comfort and reliability. It conveys a sense of professionalism and authority, but also a sense of approachability and accessibility. It conveys a sense of tradition and history, but also a sense of innovation and progress.


The Conclusion




New Rail Alphabet is a typeface that was designed by Margaret Calvert in the early 1960s for the British Railways, as part of a comprehensive signage system that aimed to improve the clarity and consistency of information for passengers and staff. The typeface was also adopted by other public institutions, such as the National Health Service and the Danish State Railways, and became a symbol of modernity and efficiency.


However, over the years, the original typeface was modified and distorted by various users, losing some of its original qualities and charm. In 2009, Henrik Kubel, a Danish type designer and co-founder of A2-TYPE, collaborated with Margaret Calvert to revive and expand the typeface, creating New Rail Alphabet. The new version preserves the essence of the original design, but adds more weights, italics, characters, making it more versatile and suitable for contemporary use.


New Rail Alphabet is a typeface that has many features, examples, relevance and appeal. It has a wide range of letterforms, weights, italics, characters that offer versatility and functionality. It has many examples of use in graphic design and typography that demonstrate its effectiveness and elegance. It has many aspects that make it timeless, adaptable, varied, contrastive, distinctive, memorable, clear, efficient, comfortable reliable professional authoritative approachable accessible traditional innovative progressive.


New Rail Alphabet is a typeface that you should consider for your own projects if you want to create clear and consistent communication that also has personality and charm. You can get New Rail Alphabet from A2-TYPE's website, where you can also find more information about the typeface's history and features.


FAQs




What is New Rail Alphabet?




New Rail Alphabet is a typeface that was designed by Margaret Calvert in the early 1960s for the British Railways, and revived and expanded by Henrik Kubel in 2009. It is a neo-grotesque sans serif typeface that has a clean and modern appearance, but also a warm and welcoming personality. It is a versatile and functional typeface that can be used for various purposes and contexts.


Who designed New Rail Alphabet?




New Rail Alphabet was designed by Margaret Calvert, a British graphic designer who is known for her work on signage and wayfinding systems. She designed the original Rail Alphabet in 1960-1961, as part of a larger project to redesign the signage system for the British Railways. She collaborated with Henrik Kubel, a Danish type designer and co-founder of A2-TYPE, a London-based independent type foundry, to revive and expand the typeface in 2009.


Where can I get New Rail Alphabet?




You can get New Rail Alphabet from A2-TYPE's website, where you can also find more information about the typeface's history and features. You can buy the typeface as a web font or a desktop font, depending on your needs and preferences. You can also test the typeface online and see how it looks in different weights, sizes, and languages.


How can I use New Rail Alphabet?




You can use New Rail Alphabet for any project that requires clear and consistent communication that also has personality and charm. You can use it for signage and wayfinding systems, as well as for identity and branding, editorial and publishing, web and digital design, and more. You can combine or mix it with other typefaces, colors, sizes, alignments, or styles to create different effects and moods.


Why should I use New Rail Alphabet?




You should use New Rail Alphabet if you want to create communication that is timeless, adaptable, varied, contrastive, distinctive, memorable, clear, efficient, comfortable reliable professional authoritative approachable accessible traditional innovative progressive. You should also use it if you appreciate its history and design, and want to support its creators and their work. dcd2dc6462


About

Welcome to the group! You can connect with other members, ge...

Members

  • Anya Brown
  • Manoj aggarwal
    Manoj aggarwal
  • Joseph Easton
    Joseph Easton
  • bucher bestseller
    bucher bestseller
  • Wilibald Banks
    Wilibald Banks
bottom of page