Plates   Street signs  

The making of the Moscow street name plates

Overview   Process  

Let’s start. Navigation for pedestrians in Moscow will be provided through street name plates and signs on poles. Studying the foreign achievements in the area, analyzing materials and typography.

Starting with a simple approach. Trying different layouts, colors, searching for the shape.

Trying to work with the color and volume of the plates. It’s clear that the plates in the center of Moscow will require a special color to distinguish them from the plates in residential areas.

Experimenting with embossing, decorative elements, connecting structures.

Trying out our findings on signs, too. Searching for the shape and attachment solution. So far we like the vertically compact layout. We also try not to use arrows excessively: the position of the sign itself should be enough to show the direction.

The search continues. The blue color looks the most promising right now: city residents already know it and there is no reason they should get used to a new one.

Trying to take into account the variants with composite coloring. Also we need to provide space for advertising media near the signs.

Choosing the most promising designs of plates and signs and showing to the artistic director.

Artistic director: I wouldn’t change the shape of the plates drastically. The ones that are on the streets today are very good, very recognizable. All they need is just a small facelift, and they’ll look cool. What you have created is more appropriate for Lviv.

Having another look at the current situation. It is evident that there is a problem with the position of the house number: there is no strict rule as to where it should be. On the corners of buildings plates can be on different heights, which looks horrible.

Trying to make a gentle facelift. Looking for the best position of the semi-oval, transliteration and mounting holes. We get an idea to add micronavigation to the corners of the plates. We also need to test out the longest street name possible.

Considering the possible directions of development. Position of the icon on a sign reflects the relative location of the landmark. Asking the colleagues—everybody seems to get it.

Searching for the shape of the oval, layout, pictogram placement, transliteration and checking out how the signs look on poles.

The art director suggests to develop a micronavigation concept which makes use of building corners and small columns. It makes more sense to use the columns to display not only the usual information, but also its Braille version—the height of the columns is ideal for that. At the same time, such navigation will be helpful to shorter people, the visually impaired, children and disabled persons. Putting all ideas together for the first demonstration.

The overall direction was chosen correctly, we leave it as a working concept and going out to the streets again. Looking at what’s hanging around the city today.

Street name plates require a special study. The second attempt, the search goes on. Choosing the typeface.

Gradually we start searching for the shape of the plates. The artistic director believes we should adhere to the unique Moscow shape with a “belly.” Drawing such plates.

Simultaneously making house number plates.

Considering where to put the English street name..

Choosing the frame.

The artistic director suggests to create a special typeface in the spirit of traditional Moscow plates. The type designer draws the first letters. Trying to type street names both in lower-case and upper-case. Settling on upper-case.

Working on the details: the shape of the signs, the type and spacing, thickness and rounding of the frames.

Visualizing the plates.

Carrying out field testing which reveals legibility problems. The plate turned out to be higher than the old one, but the text on it—smaller.

One of the problems with current plates is their width. It is often difficult to find a place for a plate on a complex facade.

Creating plates of various sizes. The smallest is 80 cm (31,5″).

Meanwhile the work on the plates for residential districts is well under way.

Typesetting the main text using the Moscow typeface. Placing frames and arrows.

Considering the materials and the backlight.

At first we had three types of plates: for the historic center, for residential districts and for areas with mixed development. The latter plates were to be made curved, although after a while this type was dropped entirely. We are left with standard plates and plates for the historical center.

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