055/270: #Paddington (District, Circle & Bakerloo) – The Error

It’s 07:30 on Saturday morning and I’m getting out of the city for the weekend. I’m at Paddington which didn’t disappoint for photo opportunities as I instantly found the shot I wanted: The roundel with the impressive Brunel roof of the mainline station in the background.

However, take a look closer… yes, go on, closer still… Something is wrong. Very wrong.

It wouldn’t be the first time incorrect fonts have appeared on the Underground, and at first glance you might struggle to notice the difference. Even I might have passed this by had I not been encouraged to take a closer look at an image taken by Tim Dunn of the same sign, coincidentally later that same day.

After further investigation, I think the font on the roundel is called Calibri, though some have suggested it could also be Verdana. (See if you can spot it, it’s all in the E. Type it out in word if you don’t believe me!). Quite why Calibri has been used instead of the ubiquitous New Johnston I have no idea. It’s possible TfL isn’t actually responsible for this stairwell and it’s signage and perhaps it’s instead managed by Network Rail. Someone will probably be able to tell me if this theory has any legs because it’s equally plausible that someone at TfL has cocked up – Calibri just happens to be the default font in Microsoft Word at the moment… Just Saying…

Either way, it’s given me an easy name for the blog post – so it’s all panned out great in my eyes…

Image copyright A Carter – CallingAllStations.co.uk

4 thoughts on “055/270: #Paddington (District, Circle & Bakerloo) – The Error

  1. Do you know how old this sign is? I know back in the ’70s/’80s London Transport’s standards were somewhat sloppy and they would sometimes use other random fonts in place of Johnston. Maybe this roundel is from that era?

    • Hi Zac, no idea how old it is, but it looks fairly modern. I also think there are some incorrect fonts down at platform level on the Bakerloo Line… I’d been staring at fonts for so long at this point I might have been second guessing but there’s something not quite right there either! Perhaps pointing to contractor cock up when it was closed last year…

  2. I’m not sure it’s Calibri – that font has some softened and rounded corners that aren’t present on the rounded at Paddington. And I’m ruling out Verdana too. My guess would be either Myriad or Frutiger.

    Frutiger latter was designed specifically for public signage, initially at airports, and is now used for direction signs at many airports, railway stations and hospitals in the UK. It’s not meant to be used on National Rail major stations like Paddington – they have their own corporate typeface for public signage inherited from Railtrack – but it crops up fairly regularly because NR aren’t very good at branding. My guess is that this was made and installed on behalf of Network Rail and the designer picked their “usual” lettering thinking it didn’t matter. (We know that it does, of course.)

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