MBTA Signage Discussion

Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

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Re: "Generic" MBTA signs

Postby MBTA3247 » Sun Mar 14, 2010 1:37 am

Arborway wrote:
MBTA3247 wrote:What's the Eurostile font? Does somebody have a picture?


Click here

I find that link to be rather insulting.
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Re: "Generic" MBTA signs

Postby rhodiecub2 » Sun Mar 14, 2010 8:03 pm

Getting back to the MBTA signage, I think the T should keep all of their signs consistent with the Helvetica font.
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Re: "Generic" MBTA signs

Postby type 7 3704 » Sun Mar 14, 2010 8:46 pm

I agree, but I still like the use of Eurostile in Alewife. It's one of the stations little quirks and it fits well with the architecture in my opinion.
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Re: "Generic" MBTA signs

Postby danib62 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 1:58 pm

MBTA3247 wrote:I find that link to be rather insulting.

I think that was the point.
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1970 NYCTA Graphics Manual-use of MBTA design?

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:35 pm

The 1970 New York City Transit Authority Graphic Standards Manual was published to specify standards for signage and fonts in the system. But on page 85 a familar black "T" in a circle appears. I wonder if NYCTA violated infringement here. Did MBTA copyright/trademark the logo prior to 1970? It might have appears as far back as the late 1960s.
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Re: 1970 NYCTA Graphics Manual-use of MBTA design?

Postby The EGE » Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:43 pm

The T roundel is simple geometry - a generic sans serif T (two rectangles!) in a circle. As such, it is generally considered derivative of common property, and ineligible for copyright protection.

The MBTA adapted the T roundel around 1964 from the Stockholm Metro, which I believe had been using it since the 1940s.
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Re: 1970 NYCTA Graphics Manual-use of MBTA design?

Postby 3rdrail » Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:42 pm

C-Rail, SERY, myself and others had this same discussion on Facebook. Stockholm, Minneapolis, and a stylized version in Montreal were also noted. Big bucks went to the "Cambridge 7" to come up with this. :-)http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=sto ... tedIndex=0
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Re: 1970 NYCTA Graphics Manual-use of MBTA design?

Postby BigUglyCat » Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:36 pm

I have seen pictures of Stockholm. It's startling to see the "T" circle on a post there.
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Re: 1970 NYCTA Graphics Manual-use of MBTA design?

Postby MACTRAXX » Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:37 pm

R36: Good find of this NYCTA Graphics Manual from the early 70s here...
The major change was signs being made in white on black which I remember turned out to be easier to read...

I do recall that circle T logo being used to mark internal telephone locations in the NYC Subways...

That "stylized" Montreal version-the circle T with left-pointing arrow-dates from the late 40s...I was
surprised to find that it was that old...

The Minneapolis/St.Paul,MN Metro Transit system does use basically the same T as the MBTA...
http://www.metrotransit.org in color instead of black on white...

The MBTA's T logo dates from the late 60s I believe and was probably first used when they began
using Helvetica print for all their signs am I right?

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Re: 1970 NYCTA Graphics Manual-use of MBTA design?

Postby 3rdrail » Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:55 pm

It was the MBTA's logo, in need of one when they took over from the MTA with their "goose egg". There have been a few other transit organizations that used the circled T as well. Honestly, for the kind of money that the Cambridge 7 undoubtably got, wouldn't a symbol that reflected Boston's heritage have been better ? A burlap bag of tea with contents pouring out ? Anyway, Stockholm had theirs first. It looks like a fascinating system with stations using natural rock as decor- looks a hell of a lot better than the Park Street disco era ! (I wonder how many times a Stockholm tourist has remarked that they didn't know that the MBTA went so far !)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_Metro
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Re: 1970 NYCTA Graphics Manual-use of MBTA design?

Postby The EGE » Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:46 pm

I think the T roundel was possibly the best decision the MBTA has made - and they've made some very good decisions along with the bad ones. You see a T and you know that you can get a train, bus, or trolley. The same icon - even the exact same T-on-a-stick signs - are used for local transit, rapid transit, and commuter rail. That's a huge advantage when it comes to branding their service.

In Wickford, Rhode Island, at the station furthest from any other MBTA station (more than ten miles from any other station), in a state that only has three MBTA stations in total, how does the MBTA announce itself?

Image

With a gigantic T emblem.

That's how powerful that simple logo is.
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Re: 1970 NYCTA Graphics Manual-use of MBTA design?

Postby Adams_Umass_Boston » Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:59 pm

There is no way I will ever find this again to back myself up. Any-who...

I was doing research for someone for Thompson Design years ago. In my research I read that there was a major push at the time to unify signage.

What I read mentioned about transit and that a simple round sign with a T on it would be universally understood as transit. As the letter T starts the word transit in many languages.

At work I have the MBTA catalog of the exhibition held at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Sept. 30-Nov. 12, 1967. It has images of all of the designs we know today. I will see if I can scan some and upload them next week.
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Re: 1970 NYCTA Graphics Manual-use of MBTA design?

Postby 3rdrail » Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:35 pm

As Rod Serling used to say, "submitted for your approval", my psychological study of this phenomenon: :-)
I think that it comes down to how necessary is it to identify a T stop's location with the assumption that a sizeable patronage is in the dark in as much as where such a stop is. I suggest that better than 99 % of the riding public knows precisely where the stop is probably from continuous lifetime useage. For the tourist looking for the stop, they tend to be directed, be it verbal or from a map or even following the flow of pedestrian traffic. The suggestion that they spot the logo from afar is by and large inaccurate as they will see the logo about the same time that they will see a kiosk or bus sign. We think "transit" when viewing the "circled T" not as much by what it connotes viscerally, but instead by the fact that we have been conditioned to connect the sign with transit for many years by seeing it and making the connection.
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Re: 1970 NYCTA Graphics Manual-use of MBTA design?

Postby diburning » Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:46 pm

That logo is also used by Metro-Transit in Minnesota

http://www.metrotransit.org/
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Re: 1970 NYCTA Graphics Manual-use of MBTA design?

Postby CRail » Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:18 pm

R36 Combine Coach wrote:But on page 85 a familar black "T" in a circle appears. I wonder if NYCTA violated infringement here.

In the discussion that 3rdRail mentioned, we discussed that the logo isn't just any old T with a circle around it. That symbol is not the same as the MBTA's logo, which was meticulously designed. The only logo with a similar T that I know of is Minneapolis's, which is almost exact.

Even if that T logo was the same, it is not a registered trademark so there is no infringement.
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