Moscow street navigation system

Overview   Process  

Task: to organize street navigation in Moscow and develop recommendations on its improvement and development.

By the request of the Committee for Architecture and Urban Planning of Moscow and the Main Architectural and Planning Office of Moscomarchitecture recommendations on improvement of city street navigation were developed at the studio. The recommendations are assembled into a guide book and cover typefaces, colors, pictograms and layout principles for house number and street name plates.

Pedestrian zone plates

Pedestrian zones in Moscow are small streets with narrow sidewalks and facade buildings many of which are listed. These streets are used by residents for leisure and are included in many walking and tourist guides, making aesthetics of house plates especially important.

moscow pedestrian navigation granatniy
House number plate and street name plate with transliteration

The plates are typeset conforming to the technical documentation approved by the Moscow authorities and based on available manufacturing capabilities. Different formats are available for use with long and short names of city toponyms.


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The studio wishes to thank deputy chairman of the Committee for Architecture and Urban Planning of Moscow Tatiana Guk for her faith, comprehensive support and direct participation in the project

Typefaces: Staromoskovsky and Direct-Mos

Dayev pereulok   Tverskaya ulitsa   Rojdestvensky bulvar   Bolshoy Palashevsky pereulok
moscow pedestrian navigation daev
moscow pedestrian navigation tverskaya
moscow pedestrian navigation rozhdestvenskiy
moscow pedestrian navigation palashevkiy
The plates work well with Moscow’s complex address system

moscow pedestrian navigation color
Classic Moscow blue is used as a background color for elements of the navigation system
moscow pedestrian navigation icons small
Pictograms in the corners of the plates direct to useful or important city objects located nearby
moscow pedestrian navigation historical photo
moscow pedestrian navigation tradition
The navigation system maintains the traditional shape of Moscow plates of recent years

Plates for the whole city

The second, simpler, design of the plates is made to be installed throughout the entire city with the exception for pedestrian zones.

moscow pedestrian navigation planernaya
moscow pedestrian navigation borders
Pleasant frames and roundings visually unite “historic” and standard plates

Two sizes of plates are available—small and large. In each individual case the choice is made according to the number of characters in the name of the street.

Kostikova ulitsa   Shmitovsky proyezd   Novoposelkovaya ulitsa  
moscow pedestrian navigation kostikova
moscow pedestrian navigation shmitovskiy
moscow pedestrian navigation novoposelkovaya

moscow pedestrian navigation simple photo
moscow pedestrian navigation arrows
Arrows indicate house numbers at the corners of building blocks

For residential areas where houses are not placed along a street and are separated by considerable distances, vertical combination plates were developed with large and highly visible house numbers.

moscow pedestrian navigation napolniy

For reasons of economy it is acceptable to produce plates that combine the street name and the house number.

moscow pedestrian navigation strastnoy

An original typeface, Staromoskovsky, was created for use on the plates. The face is designed in the spirit of traditional Moscow street name plates.

Book style   Bold style
moscow pedestrian navigation type normal
moscow pedestrian navigation type wide

Street signs

Street signs indicate the location of important city objects, organizations and landmarks. They are made in the form of either free-standing structures or panel brackets for mounting on lighting and utility poles. The signs contain the name of the object in two languages, its pictogram, address and walking time in minutes. To simplify typesetting and make comprehension of long official names of state organizations easier, universal rules for their abbreviation were created. All texts on the signs are typed with the Direct-Mos typeface—a modified version of the Direct typeface created specifically for navigation.

Simple sign   Sign with additional information
moscow pedestrian navigation sign objects
moscow pedestrian navigation sign streets

Besides the traditional blue background of the signs, a new brown one was proposed to visually separate cultural objects. Pictograms are used as a secondary navigation element. They convey the message even to those who do not know the language, as well as improve legibility of information from a distance, in bad weather conditions, in low light and so on, as their optical density is higher than that of text.

moscow pedestrian navigation icons set
No words needed

The whole system of city street navigation is based on strict and coherent graphic principles. Some elements are common for all media: color scheme, typefaces and pictograms, positions of direction arrows. Unified layout allows to easily identify signs as elements of the navigation system and provide for their comfortable use, reducing the time needed to understand the logic behind the system.

moscow pedestrian navigation promo left   moscow pedestrian navigation promo right

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