Helvetica and the New York City Subway System
The True (Maybe) Story by Paul Shaw
“One of the best pieces of design history I’ve ever read. Impeccably researched and gracefully written, it uses a seemingly prosaic subject as a starting point for a fascinating exploration of the way that graphic design developed as a discipline in the 20th century.” - Michael Bierut, Pentagram
MoMA purchased some fonts recently (23 to be exact), most of which having some sort of historical significance.
One of these typefaces was OCR-A by American Type Founders, which is probably best known as the font used for routing numbers on checks. It’s used in other business contexts as well because it was designed to be perfectly readable by computers. The characters are distinct enough that individual characters won’t get mistaken for other ones.