1977 BART Icon Redrawn

Spent five minutes or so redrawing that awesome 70s BART icon in Illustrator, just because. Grab the Illustrator CS3 or SVG artwork file here if you like. For personal use only, please.

rohdesr Asked
QuestionWhat do you thing of Sound Transit's station icons? I find them ineffective and embarrassing. And, they what opinions for new icons for new stations! You can see the survey yourself on the surveygizmo website at /s3/1584076/Pictogram-Questionnaire. Answer

I talked about Sound Transit’s station icons in this review of the Link map that’s found in ST’s timetable book back in December 2012. Like you, I’m not particularly impressed by them. I think they’re overly detailed and they reproduce terribly at small sizes. They’re even kind of hard to make out on the strip maps on trains — becoming vague, blobby shapes — which is really not a good thing for an icon.

It’s kind of funny that in the questionnaire you reference above, Sound Transit uses Lance Wyman’s gorgeous Mexico City Metro icons as a point of reference, because they’re the absolute opposite of the Seattle icons — bold and simple, with each one being immediately visually distinctive from another. 

However, icons are here to stay, as they’re mandated by Washington state law. From RCW 81.112.190 - Requirements for Signage:

The signage [for any light-rail system in Washington state] must also use distinguishing symbols or pictograms developed by the authority as a means to identify stations and may identify points of interest along the corridor for persons who use languages that are not Roman-alphabet based.

Seeing as Seattle is stuck with icons, you might as well try and get the best ones you can. If you like in Seattle and have an opinion, then you should take the survey — here’s a proper link to it.

Mexico City Metro Linea 1 Strip Map

If you’re going to use icons for each of your stations, as Mexico City does, then why not make them nice and big and simply arrange them in the correct order?

More from Wikipedia on the iconography of the Mexico City Metro:

Each station is identified by a minimalist logo related to the name of the station or the area around it. This is because, at the time of the first line’s opening, the illiteracy rate was extremely high, so people found it easier to guide themselves with a system based on colors and visual signs. The design of the icons and the typography are a creation of Lance Wyman, who also designed the logotype for the 1968 Summer Olympic Games at Mexico City. The logos are not assigned at random; rather, they are designated by considering the surrounding area, such as:

  • The reference places that are located around the stations (e.g., the logo for Salto del Agua fountain depicts a fountain);
  • The topology of an area (e.g., Coyoacán—in Nahuatl “place of coyotes”—depicts a coyote); and
  • The history of the place (e.g., Juárez, named after President Benito Juárez, depicts his silhouette).

The logos’ background colors reflect those of the line the station serves. Stations serving two or more lines show the respective colors of each line in diagonal stripes, as in Salto del Agua.

(Source: Universe’s universe/Flickr)