Official Map: Tyne & Wear Metro, England
Built in 1980, the Tyne and Wear Metro is the first of Britain’s modern light rail systems. It also benefits from a very strong corporate identity with the slab serif Calvert typeface (named after its creator and one of the original identity designers in 1977, the famous Margaret Calvert) as a core component. The typeface is used extensively throughout the system, even as wall-sized station names as seen in the photo of Monument Station. Taken on its own on the system map, the typeface seems a little clumsy; but when it is considered as part of the overall identity, it actually works quite well and shows a nice consistency in design.
Have we been there? No.
What we like: Distinctive, industrial-looking design that suits the region perfectly. Love the Metro logo itself: simple, bold and memorable. Clear and easy to read. I like the idea of the grey circles denoting the important city centres of Newcastle and Sunderland, although I wish the circle for Sunderland didn’t extend out over the ocean - is it underwater?
What we don’t like: Treatment of the two rivers that give the region its name is poor - the angles used are inconsistent with the 30/60-degree angle set up by the routes, and the thinning of the rivers just looks ugly.
The “cutouts” of the Tyne’s shoreline used to represent the North to South Shields ferry look terrible and also imply that the ferry departs directly from the Metro stations, when in reality some distance separates them and their respective ferry terminals.
The crossover of the Yellow line at Monument station could perhaps be better shown: trains actually run from South Shields - Monument - North Shields - Monument (again) - St James, but the map is a little ambiguous about this.
Our rating: Despite a few flaws, this is a solid map with a very distinctive look that ties in beautifully with Metro’s corporate identity. Three-and-a-half stars. It would be four, but I really don’t like the treatment of the rivers.
(Source: Official Nexus Metro website)