Monday, 11 May 2009

Inteview by e-mail with Bruno Maag

I've been writing email to Bruno Maag, asked some advice from him because he was type designer for St'Pancras project, and I got some really useful adivices from him about type. please see below>>> 

1.      St  Pancras is a complex, crowded and also very large station. In
term of type design,    how did the Barlow font influence you? And
what was your inspiration using this type for St. Pancras station?

Barlow is based on one of our own fonts - Stroudley. Stroudley was originally designed for signage purposes, hence the tall x-height and relatively narrow letter width, to allow for a higher letter count. For reasons of legibility, the font was designed with humanist features, eg. open character shapes. For Barlow the font was slightly more condensed to allow an even higher letter count on the limited amount of space on signs. 

2.      From my observational research, I found that you used bi linguine
languages for “Departure” and “Arrival” between English and French,
what made you decided to use this method just for these words?  And
why didn’t you use this method with other information such as
“entrance” or “exit”?

We were not involved in the actual implementation of the typeface, just the font design itself. So, really I have no control over wording etc. It is my guess that this decision came about to assist primarily with the Eurostar passengers, to acknowledge the French destination. St Pancras, of course, also serves UK mainland rail services and I think for this reason a single language only approach was applied. Again, you have to talk to the actual station designers or operators about this. 
3.      Do you think this station could benefit from more use of colours for coding?

It's a very busy and convoluted train station. I must admit that the few times I was there I had a hard time finding some of the local train services. Finding Eurostar is no problem but finding the Thameslink becomes a serious challange because I don't think that service is signed very well at all.

I am not sure that colour coding would help. There is also a practical issue to that as all of the rail services are run by private companies, each with their own corporate colours. To make colour coding effective for the various services, you'd have to co-ordinate a huge amount of opinions and brand guidelines.

4.      In terms of hierarchy, how did you manage the information used for
the signage around the station?

Again, we were not involved in the actual design of the signage. So I cannot comment on that.

I hope this helps.
Kind regards

Bruno Maag, Managing Director, Dalton Maag Ltd
Unit 107, 245A Coldharbour Lane, London, SW9 8RR, UK

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