Floor navigation in Moscow Metro stations

Overview   Process   Real Life  

Task: to create floor navigation.

A design concept and installation project of floor navigation signs were created for 49 Moscow Metro stations located inside the Circle line.

metro floor navigation teatralnaya
A sign for Teatralnaya station

Flow distribution and necessary information

Floor navigation helps distribute passenger flows coming in different directions. If an escalator at the end of a station is located on the right, the sign showing the way will also be located on the right.

Release date: April 23 2014


artistic director
art director
secret adviser
technical designers
project manager
The studio wishes to thank Vladimir Titov and Ivan Burtsev from the Department of Transportation and Road Infrastructure Development of Moscow for their help with the project.

Typeface: Direct

The signs show only the directions that are immediately helpful to the passengers, helping to remove distracting information and increase legibility. Signs showing the way to neighboring stations display no arrows to reduce clutter. Direction arrows appear only in situations where it is important to direct people to prevent them from walking against the oncoming passenger flow.

metro floor navigation kievskaya
metro floor navigation kievskaya ring
Signs with and without line numbers

Floor color

The floor on every station is unique: on some stations it is made of red granite with a black pattern, on others it consists of checkered black and white granite slabs, and sometimes it is simply patchwork granite. Five colors of concrete were chosen to ensure that each tile would match the background without breaking the pattern and looking foreign.

The modules precisely match the seams of granite slabs, meaning there is no distortion of the floor pattern.

The main priority is to blend navigation elements into the surroundings without ruining the appearance of vestibules. The signs must become a natural addition to station interior, helping people find their way around.

metro floor navigation colors 01
The original sign
metro floor navigation colors 02
2100×700 mm (82,7″×27,5″)
Checkered floor with 700 mm (27,5″) tiles
metro floor navigation colors 03
2050×1000 mm (80,7″×39,4″)
Checkered floor with 1000 mm (39,4″) tiles
metro floor navigation colors 04
1950×800 mm (76,7″×31,5″)
Light-colored floor with 800 mm (31,5″) tiles
metro floor navigation colors 05
1950×1100 mm (76,7″×43,3″)
Red granite floor with 550 mm (21,6″) tiles
metro floor navigation colors 06
1950×1000 mm (76,7″×39,4″)
Pattern floor
metro floor navigation colors 07
2100×900 mm (82,7″×35,4″)
Perpendicular tiles
metro floor navigation colors 08
1950×900 mm (76,7″×35,4″)
A mixture of various tiles
metro floor navigation colors 09
2000×1000 mm (78,7″×39,4″)
New station floor


Traditionally, vestibules in Moscow Metro are named after one of the stations of the transfer hub, even when the vestibule provides access to several Metro lines. For example, the shared entrance to Tverskaya and Pushkinskaya station is named Pushkinskaya Station, while the entrance to Pushkinskaya and Chekhovskaya stations is simply Chekhovskaya Station. Floor navigation signs have names of all stations in a transfer hub, since it is always easier to make a transfer through a neighboring station than to go out on the street and look for a different entrance.

metro floor navigation 123
Signs with line numbers are aligned in ascending order

Exit to the city

There is a plan to introduce a unified system of navigation in all of Moscow in the near future. It is expected that every Metro exit will have its own number.

metro floor navigation way out 1
metro floor navigation way out 2
Sign with and without exit numbers

Cross-platform transfer stations

In such stations one platform serves trains from two different lines, which means it is not necessary to guide passengers to another line. A special version of signs showing the directions of travel from the platform was created for such stations.

metro floor navigation kitay gorod
All the directions


The navigation system is made up of modules that can be easily combined with each other. A module is a rectangular slab of colored concrete on which all the necessary information is printed with ceramic granite.

metro floor navigation station
The shared principle: first, the direction arrow, next—the way out block, and finally—line number modules
metro floor navigation 35
When it is necessary to direct the passenger flow to the right, the direction arrow is placed at the rightmost position so as not to point at a digit
metro floor navigation 3
A sign showing a transfer


The navigation elements are created using strong and durable materials: the base is asbestos arcing-resistant board; the upper part is made of modified epoxy filled with quartz sand; the letters, digits and arrows are made of ceramic granite. Elements are colored in the mass which allows them to maintain color longer despite demanding conditions.

metro floor navigation materials

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