Author: nick2828 (page 10 of 84)

Selfridges launch non gender agenda

Nicopanda Courtesy of Selfridges

There’s change in the air, and Selfridges is one of the first to sense it. The London luxury retailer is sweeping aside cultural norms and launching a gender-neutral pop-up department that will include spaces on three of its four floors. It’s called Agender. The unisex experience won’t be limited to London, either. Selfridges outlets in Manchester and Birmingham will also feature gender neutral spaces.

“We want to take our customers on a journey where they can shop and dress without limitations or stereotypes,” the store said in a statement. “A space where clothing is no longer imbued with directive gender values, enabling fashion to exist as a purer expression of ‘self’.”

With girls appearing on the menswear runways (see: Gucci) and Acne trumpeting its pro-woman credentials with scarves reading “Gender Equality”, there’s probably never been a better time for a department store like Selfridges to try something new. Right now, it feels like there’s nothing more old-fashioned than the idea of a shopping aisles for women and another for men.

So how committed is Selfridges to its theme? Very. For one thing, the store is doing away with female and male mannequins – which still leaves the tricky question of how the garments will be displayed on the shopfloor. (DesignerFaye Toogood is tasked with designing the concept.) The shake-up also applies to beauty and accessories, with perfumes displayed alongside shaving products.

Selfridges has also lined up exclusive launches with Body Map, Nicopanda, Rad Hourani, and VFiles. Agender will launch on March 1 and run through to April. Hopefully this won’t just be a brief, fashionable nod towards gender neutrality – more of a harbinger of things to come.

99 years of the Johnston typeface

99 years of the Johnston typeface

S Smith sign

Next year marks the centenary of the introduction of the Johnston typeface, designed by Edward Johnston as the corporate font for transport in London and still in use today.

The Johnston typeface

The Johnston typeface was first introduced in 1916 and used on the London Underground. Today it is used on signage, London Underground printed material and of course the equally iconic Tube map, designed by Harry Beck. Simon Garfield, author of Just My Type, describes Johnston as “one of the most iconic, enduring and best-loved fonts in the world”.

London Blocks Explained L002 250 dpi cJPEG

Edward Johnston was commissioned to develop the typeface by London transport administrator Frank Pick – who would later commission Beck to design the Tube Map.

Bath Signwriting NGS Pubs cafes signwritten beers ales

Source: Alexander Baxevanis

Woodblocks of Johnston type

According to Garfield, Pick briefed Johnston to create a typeface that would “belong unmistakeably to the times in which we lived”. It would be “straightforward and manly” with each letter in the alphabet “a strong and unmistakeable symbol”. Johnston himself says he approached the task with “the austerity of an engineer”.

Author David Lawrence – whose book A Logo for London covers both Johnston’s typeface designs and his later designs for the London Underground roundel – says Johnston “ruthlessly discarded the florid typography and gilded heraldry that Victorian engineering had taken up to assert its heritage”.

Development of the TfL roundel, also designed by Edward Johnston

Johnston initially worked on the typeface with his student Eric Gill – who would later create the Johnston-influenced Gill Sans. According again to Garfield, the initial letters Johnston produced were the capitals B, D, E, N, O and U.

The lower-case “l” with its distinctive upturned boot and the lower-case “I” with its diamond-shaped dot, would come later.

Source: John Keogh

London Underground sign – showing the diamond-dot “i”

Johnston died in 1944 and according to Garfield had expressed regret that his work had been more honoured abroad than at home. He is quoted as saying “This particular design… seems to have made a great impression in parts of Central Europe – where I understand it has given me a reputation which my own country is too practical to recognise.”

Today, the Johnston font is registered to Transport for London and found across the transport network. It has also appeared in wayfinding for the London 2012 Olympics and in overlays on BBC TV show Sherlock.

St John's Wood

Signs showing Johnston typeface at the London Transport Museum

Ahead of the centenary of the typeface’s introduction, London Transport Museum is hosting a series of guided tours, which will tell the story of what the museum refers to as “designs so strong and adaptable that they now represent the idea of London itself”.

For more information on the London Transport Museum Johnston tours, visit

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