This type for signage on the Amsterdam metro was designed in collaboration
with a workgroup led by Pieter Brattinga. As a fair proportion of the
signs are illuminated from within, using fluorescent tubes, the principles
of optics were taken as the basis for the design. Whatever form an opening
has — triangular, square or polygonal — the light shining
through it onto a surface always tends to form a circle. M.O.L. is rounded
throughout as a device to make illuminated lettering more even and legible.
This was the first type design in which I started experimenting with the
counters of letters (the spaces within the letters) by making them larger
as a way of improving legibility.
* Mol is the Dutch word for a mole. The workgroup had
come up with the idea of a mole as a mascot for the new underground railway.
Outside every station in the city there would be a giant molehill with
a mole pointing the way to the entrance with his nose. The idea was torpedoed
by the city authorities, but we let it live on in the name of the typeface.