I shouldn’t have to bother with this, but after a round of wilful misrepresentations from otherwise intelligent people, here are a few clarifications.

I want the Paul Arthur signs preserved

...but not necessarily preserved in place, which is what TTC thinks I meant. Seriously, they were a one-off prototype 14 years ago. I’ve been complaining about their presence for six months.

I want old signs preserved if they work

Apparently, the old enamelled-steel signs are functional. Apparently. The Paul Arthur signs were more functional, but we aren’t using those. And there are some exceptions – there’s an awful sign at Bay station that needs to come down right away, in my opinion. On the whole, though, those signs have functioned, and worn, quite well. In one imaginable future, all the old signs that appear to function are left in place, and every other sign is changed to a new and tested design. That is merely an option, not the only one.

Stop acting like the Sheppard signs are any good

I don’t know how many times I have to say this, but here I go one more godforsaken time: The Sheppard-style signs are a clone of Massimo Vignelli’s work from circa 1966, they were thrown together in a rush by nonexpert TTC staff, they were never tested, I’ve tendered a great deal of evidence they don’t work, and even the manager who approved them in the mid-’90s thinks they don’t work.

Stop acting like the solution to everybody’s problems is to destroy old signs and replace them with Sheppard signs

This is the official TTC policy, reiterated so often it’s like dealing with a cultist. (No matter what you ask them or say to them, the response is “We install the Sheppard-style signs in new stations.”) The Sheppard signs are half-assed copies and they do · not· work.

This is not about preserving a font

The TTC font is unique, but we aren’t preserving the font. If you have a hard time distinguishing between tangible signboards and a typeface, then you are in no position to comment.

This is not about design

We are not talking about your, or my, or Adam Giambrone’s personal æsthetic opinions, none of which are important. This is only about function. You like the Sheppard signs? Prove to me they work. I’ll publish your evidence.

This is not about design vs. accessibility

Possibly the most galling accusation of all, and presumably an intentional insult to my two and half decades’ work for people with disabilities. I am not an expert in architectural accessibility, which certainly includes accessibility of transit systems, but do not go picking a fight with me about accessibility. In specific, I want a signage system that provably works for people with disabilities who can read a sign at all. You can quit insinuating that I want old signs preserved (or taken down – make up your mind) and replaced by something uniform and “accessible.” I want the result to be accessible and we certainly need more uniformity, but destroying old signs and replacing them with Sheppard signs is not the way to go about it.

Paul Arthur’s were not a “failed” design

They tested better than the existing signs, which makes those the failure. They were simply unimplemented.

If you like the Sheppard signs, you probably know so little about the issue that you’ll be overjoyed with their replacement

If you like the Sheppard signs, you probably know so little about the subject that you should keep your opinions to yourself. Nonetheless, some years hence, once we test and roll out one or more new sign systems, you will probably shit your pants with delight at how good it is. It isn’t true that anything’s gotta be better than what we have now, but anything tested and proven absolutely will be.

Conceptually, this is a really simple topic. I would appreciate it if you would all take a break from going out of your way to misrepresent me.