Type in Transit/Delhi Metro Serif

When I walked into the Metro on the Violet Line, the one with the latest coaches, my first reaction was that they have caught on to me. The LED displays on the train have Photography Prohibited stickers right next to them. It took multiple train rides, and an afternoon with empty coaches for me to finally click some quick photographs.

The images you will see in this post will be different from the ones you saw for the sans serif designs. In these new coaches, the only message that remains static on the LED display board is the name of the station, and the English names use only upper case. Seen below are messages for Nehru Place, Kalkaji Mandir and Lajpat Nagar, in both Latin and Devanagari.

Now, this makes it hard for me to compare letter designs because the only uppercase letter I have documented so far in the sans serif designs is S, which is missing from here. But, no sweat – there is other stuff to discuss.

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The KA Ligature
Funny how I was setting some text in Arno Pro a couple of days ago when I noticed the KA ligature, and then saw it again here in the LED type. Since it is seen twice in the word Kalkaji, I would like to believe that the ligature is not a one-off error.

It would have been neater, though, if the K and A sat closer to each other than they do right now.

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Inconsistent Contrast in Devanagari
The curved letters in the Devanagari message, have additional pixels to make the shape look more round. This, of course, has made the contrast in the letters a bit odd – going from thick to thin at some places in a select few letters, and remaining consistent in others.

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Delhi Metro Serif
Having only uppercase letters did have its benefits. It didn’t take long for me to realize that a majority of the twenty-six letters have been covered in the photographs I had clicked. The letters represented with diamonds will be replaced by alphabets as soon as I travel to Sarita Vihar, Kailash Colony and Badarpur stations. I don’t know if the the letters represented by crosses can be seen in the display system in uppercase at all. I will just have to observe the public service messages besides the station names very carefully.

In the mean time, this incomplete version of Delhi Metro Serif has been compiled on Fontstruct and can be downloaded from here.

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Comments 3

  1. R May 19, 2011

    Sheesh, now I miss taking the Metro every morning. London Underground has an interesting story – I was reading about it the other day – from the anti-Victorian appraoch taken by the Johnston Sans of the early 1900s to bringing in a Japanese optics expert to turn it around and reformat it. Er…anyway, I am definitely downloading the Delhi Metro Serif. Thanks for sharing!

    p.s.: I love your blog!

  2. R May 19, 2011

    Oh, and that book I picked up is called Just My Type by Simon Garfield. Pretty general, written in a light manner for those generally interested in type like me. 🙂

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