In 1988, the contract for the underground metro system in Bilbao was awarded to the architects Sir Norman Foster and partners, following an open competition. The same year the first underground station was opened in Erandio, on the existing Bilbao-Plentzia railway. [Wikipedia] According to Bienal Internacional de Arquitectura MUGAK, this “exemplar mass transport information design project was realized thanks to [Aicher’s] special relationship with […] Foster”. Bilbao’s subway signage system was the last important design project of Aicher. Born in 1922, the German graphic designer and Ulm School of Design main co-founder died in 1991, and didn’t live to see the opening of the first part of line 1 in November 1995.
The symbol of Metro Bilbao is an abstract figure based on tunnels and wheels in movement. It is formed by three rings of different thicknesses, which “move” inside each other. Their thickness grows in the direction of reading (left to right) and creates a sensation of movement that perfectly expresses the dynamic nature of this means of transport.
The wordmark uses Rotis SemiSans 65 Bold, in lowercase letters. The serifless yet contrasted typeface is part of Aicher’s Rotis superfamily, which also comprises Rotis SansSerif, Rotis SemiSerif, and Rotis Serif. The initial eight Rotis styles were released in 1988 for AGFA Compugraphic’s laser and digital imagesetters, followed by Postscript versions for desktop use.