The London Underground roundel

London Underground logoPhotograph from the London Transport Museum.

These early roundels, framed with timber mouldings, were introduced as station nameboards. The new device gave prominence to the name of the station, and helped passengers distinguish it from surrounding commercial advertising.

In 1913 the Underground’s publicity manager, Frank Pick, commissioned the typographer Edward Johnston to design a company typeface. By 1917 the proportions of the roundel had been reworked to suit the new lettering and incorporate the Underground logotype. The solid red disc became a circle, and the new symbol was registered as a trademark.

London Underground logoSection of an anonymous poster, 1920.

London Underground logoDrawing of proportions for Johnston’s roundel, circa 1925.

London Underground logoPhotograph from The Guardian.

Over 100 years, the roundel has become the unifying symbol for London’s transport services, and is widely recognised as a London icon.

Transport for London logo

Transport for London logo

London Underground logoBy James Ireland.


I like Clare Newsam’s handmade roundel seesaw.

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