There are many icons of London – Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye – but equal to these is the Johnston typeface. The font permeats the city's transport networks – and is also a core part of the branding of the Mayor of London, so is used on projects that sell the city to the rest of the world. It synonymous with London to those who live here and those who've never visited.

While it's been tweaked many times and digitised since it was originally drawn by Edward Johnson for use on the Underground, its design has remained true to the clear, clean lettershapes of its initial forms.

The typeface was commissioned to be distinctly different from the lettering used in advertisments of the era – to help passengers navigate around the network more easily. It still serves that purpose (as Transport for London's head of design Jon Hunter tells us in this recent interview), though the scope of its use has grown to include buses, trams, boats, the Dangleway, cyclepaths and general wayfinding during the 2012 Olympics.

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