Before geometric line) and also distorted the Metropolitan line

Before (1000)

Charles Tyson Yerkes was an American Financier, who in 1900, created the Underground Electric Railways Company of
London as a way of controlling the District Railway. Yerkes wanted to become
involved in the development of the London underground railway system and strived
to unify it. Though he died in 1905 before any of his works had been completed,
his ideas were carried out by his successors when they were bought together on
one map.  The first combined map for
London’s Underground railways began to be issued for passengers in 1906, before
this, each line had its own separate map. The next year, the UERL, central London,
metropolitan, great Northern & City, and City & South London Railways agreed
to create the first all-inclusive map, which would combine lines from their
companies. Some of these companies were in a poor financial state and so in
1907 they joined together to create a complete system of underground railways
under the name ‘Underground’. As Jackson & Croome (1964, p. 132 cited in
Merrill, 2013, p. 247) outline, a new map was designed in 1908 to “educate the
public of the network’s
growing integration. The map displayed the network almost in its entirety”.
This map clearly laid the foundation for future designs, introducing colour for
the first time, but it also suffered from trying to replicate the route (making
it harder to read than a geometric line) and also distorted the Metropolitan
line to make room for the colour key (Garland, 1994, p. 8). Another company,
the waterloo & City, decided not to join the underground, though it’s line
featured on several maps between 1908 and 1913. All-inclusive maps made it
easier for travellers to navigate the rail routes. However, these first maps
were designed to be geographically accurate and although it was easier having
multiple routes on one map, there were issues with the clarity, which would
become increasingly worse as new lines are added.  

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Frank Pick
was a transport administrator who spent years working with trains. In 1912, he
became the Commercial Manager of the Underground Electric railways company of
London (UERL) and is celebrated as the main figure, responsible for its strong
corporate identity. Pick was very interested in design and aimed to introduce a
consistent look to advertising and lettering as he was unhappy with the diverse
and endless variety of typefaces used across the system. In 1915, he had the
logo redesigned as the heart of a successful corporate identity. 1915, Pick had
employed johnston to design a new simplified typeface. The Sans Serif
exemplified the virtues of modern design. It was clean-lined and
efficient-qualities Pick wanted to see imposed on the system as a whole. Pick
was very concerned to present the Underground system as rational, scientific,
and efficient in its management. One of the ways he tried to do that was
through the architecture of the Underground stations. He chose Charles Holden
to design the new extension stations, particularly on the Piccadilly and Central
Lines. Holden’s approach was to use a kind of architecture which would be
understood as rational and modern – a kind of European modernism. He realised,
or was instructed, that the stations must be recognisable as belonging to the
same species. If one saw an Underground station, it should be recognisable as
part of the Underground system. clear new typeface to apply to all Underground
Group buildings, rolling stock and publications. Johnston’s typeface, (known as
Johnston sans) was first used in 1916 and was so successful that it was used up
until 1979 when it was slightly reworked and renamed to ‘New Johnston’ to keep
it up to date and relevant for the modern age. The Johnston typeface, designed
exclusively for the Underground, is a sans-serif font that remains in use today
its elegant simplicity taken for granted – as much great design often is. The
typefaces success was down to its clarity and adaptability (Sinclair
2016). Johnston is also responsible for the rebrand of the London underground
in 1925 when he designed the iconic roundel logo that is still used today. There
is very little record of what Londoners thought of the symbol at first.
Journalists did observe that the new signs were part of a massive modernization
program on the Underground, and appreciated the consistency and coherence that
the roundel provided in its role as station sign. (Byrnes)


In 1925 Stingemore
designed a new map which removed all surface detail in hopes of improving the
clarity. However, this proved to be confusing for commuters and in 1932 the Thames
was added back into the design as it created a landmark that help people
visualise where they were a bit easier. This is the design that Beck went on to develop into a diagrammatic map,
much the same as we use today.