A design as quintessentially British as the double decker bus or the black cab, Johnston Sans is one of the most recognisable typefaces in the world - yet how many of us could put a name to it? Or, fewer still know anything of the history of this iconic design? For most Londoners, it is quite simply the typeface for the London Underground, signposting our daily lives around this great city for the past hundred years.
Created in 1916, this sans serif typeface, named Johnston Sans after its designer Edward Johnston, unified signage across the London Underground network. However, Johnston’s typeface was not universally popular at first. His use of sans serif, at the time considered to be a more basic form of lettering, certainly divided opinion.
Yet Johnston’s creation was undeniably light years ahead of its time. Ageless, modern and beautiful, it sparked a revolution in communication and went on to popularise the sans serif style. In its simplicity, Johnston unknowingly produced one of the world’s most perennial corporate identities.
A hundred years on, in commemoration of its centenary, Johnston Sans has been brought right up to date with the creation of the Johnston 100, with the addition of the everyday symbols that reflect the digital world we live in, like the # and @.
Our designs celebrate one of the world’s most revered and enduring typefaces, and its arrival into a new era. Johnston Sans has inspired the lives of Londoners and its visitors since 1916 – long may it continue to do so.