A 14-weight sans family based on the original British ‘M.O.T.’ (Ministry of Transport) alphabet.
A capitals-only, single-weight design was drawn up around 1933 for use on Britain’s road network, and remained in use until Jock Kinnear and Margaret Calvert’s ‘Transport Alphabet’ was introduced for Britain’s first motorway in 1958.
The identity of the original designer is not preserved; however, Antony Froshaug in a 1963 ‘Design’ magazine article mentions Edward Johnston as an advisor. Speculation that it was based on Johnston’s London Transport alphabet is discussed in archived government documents from 1957: “So far as I am aware, the Ministry alphabet was not based on Johnston’s design; indeed, it has been suggested that Gill got his idea from Johnston. Our alphabet was based on advice from Hubert Llewellyn-Smith (then chairman of the British Institute of Industrial Art) and Mr. J. G. West, a senior architect of H. M. Office of Works.”
A 1955-57 revision of the alphabet which polished the somewhat mechanical aspects of the original may be the work of stone carver and typographer David Kindersley.
For the digitisation, Rian Hughes added an entirely new lower case, italics and a range of weights. The lower case mimics the forms of the capitals wherever possible, taking cues form Gill and Johnston for letters such as the a and g, with single-tier versions in the italic.
A uniquely British font that is now available in a versatile family for modern use.