One Hundred Artists Re-Interpret the Familiar London Tube Logo

Doug Fishbone

They call it the Roundel, we call it the iconic London Underground (subway) logo. It's been around for more than 100 years and it is instantly recognizable.

Sir Peter Blake
One hundred artists were commissioned to come up with their own take on this familiar symbol. The resulting book, called "The Roundel: 100 Artists Remake a London Icon", is an affectionate mix of realistic and impressionistic ideas in painting, drawing, print and sculpture.

The original "bar and the circle" was introduced in 1908 to highlight the subway station names and stand out amidst the clutter of other signs. The unique font was developed by the famous calligrapher Edward Johnston and remains in use to this day. He wanted it to have "the bold simplicity of the authentic lettering of the finest periods of history yet belong unmistakably to the 20th century".

Torsten Lauschmann, Balaclava and Sweatband

The lettering was simple, uncluttered and revolutionary in typeface design. The final redesign took place in the 1920's and the "bullseye" was rechristened the Roundel.

Richard Wentworth, Chinese Whispers

Created by a transport manager and a calligrapher, they wanted to achieve a balance between order and freedom, the classical age and modernity. In a time when we are besieged by mediocre, and meaningless corporate logos, the Roundel continues to shine as a symbol of efficiency, modernity and intelligence.

Catherine Yass, Tunnel

This is a memorial to ghost stations; stations that have been closed down hence subway cars don't stop there any longer.

John Stezacker, Lost Image

The Roundel and the umbrella share the image of circularity and linearity. It is particularly apt since umbrellas are one of the main things lost on the subway.

Other artists included in the book are: Jeremy Deller, Susan Hiller, Serena Korda, Cornelia Parker ,Yinka Shonibare, Bob and Roberta Smith, Gavin Turk.

One Hundred Artists Re-Interpret the Familiar London Tube Logo
Called the Roundel, one hundred artists take a new look at this iconic symbol.

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