Logo imitates life for the Fulton Centre

Published:  November 25, 2014

The Fulton Center is a new transit hub of New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) located in lower Manhattan, that functions to connect eleven converging subway lines and make the process of changing trains easier (or at least more controlled). The new logo for Center has been designed by New York-based Pentagram partner Michael Bierut.

The main form of the logo was inspired by the architecture of its building, essentially the patterning created between a square and a circle. And where the the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, E, J, N, R and Z trains converge, eleven lines criss-crossing lines represent them.

The building’s architecture, from which the logo was initially formed.

The form is created through a literal translation of what the hub is: a square shape that is rotated repeated 11 times (for 11 subway lines) at 5 degrees, slowly rounding its corners, where each meeting point of the corners underneath representing the five subway lines that converge at the hub. Sounds complicated in words, but is beautifully simple and straightforward in image — and isn’t that exactly what the foundation of great logo design is?

11 lines converge

The logo moves from a square into a circle, over 11 repeated, slightly altered shapes.

The 4 colours representing 4 seasons.

“The colour of the identity changes according to season: blue for summer, orange and red for fall, purple and magenta for winter, and green and yellow for spring,” Pentagram explain. “Bierut and his designers also developed a system of guidelines for consistent application of the identity across a range of items, from collateral like stationery and MTA MetroCards to dimensional signage…”

It works particularly well in 3D signage form, like a piece of sculpture derived from the architectural surroundings.  The accompanying type is set in Christian Schwartz’s Neue Haas Grotesk, sitting at a neat 90 degrees, which helps to offset that first 5 degree rotation.

The logo, in small scale, on a metro ticket

An extruded version of the logo is used for dimensional signage

The new Fulton Center styleguide

Micheal Bierut and his team have worked on a range of transportation projects for the city, including the identity for Grand Central, the WalkNYC pedestrian wayfinding system, the redesign of New York’s parking signs, and the LOOK! transit safety campaign.


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