Bencium / Product Design & User Experience Consultant
Bespoke & Different.
Getting in – station name at street-level

Underground Signage System

MA Degree Project 2000 – University of Applied Arts, Vienna (Austria)

The underground system in Budapest was built in the 60s and 70s under Russian supervision. The ruling power in the region was the Soviet Union, which enormously influenced both the underground architecture and the signage system. The stations during the Cold War era had also a second function: to protect residents in case of a nuclear war. That's why there is only one exit at couple of the stations and the trains are travelling very deep under the surface.

Looking back two decades: It was sort of a first User Experience project – actually no digital screens involved though.

Getting in – station name at street-level

Getting in – station name at street-level

This light-box can be found at each entrance to inform passengers about the station’s name and the line.

Getting in – line selection

Getting in – line selection

After entering the station area, the passengers will be guided to the platforms.

Changing lines

Changing lines

Pictograms make it possible to quickly get information about changing possibilities.

Getting out – special directional instructions

Getting out – special directional instructions

The neutral, white coloured light-boxes guide the passengers to the way out and where to find further transport options

Getting out – final exit selection

Getting out – final exit selection

Further signs confirm the chosen exit and give exact information about available streets, buses and trams.

Network map

Network map

The 2m by 2m board gives a detailed network description with all underground lines.

Budapest Underground Signage7.jpg
Budapest Underground Signage8.jpg
 The original signage system was designed much later than the stations itself, it was not taken into account during the architectural design. It lacks concept and logical consideration.  So I had to adapt my new signage onto an existing architecture where no place was reserved for signs and there was no possibility to colour code the interiors or furnitures.

The original signage system was designed much later than the stations itself, it was not taken into account during the architectural design. It lacks concept and logical consideration.

So I had to adapt my new signage onto an existing architecture where no place was reserved for signs and there was no possibility to colour code the interiors or furnitures.

Budapest Underground Signagei2.jpg
Functions of a signage system

Functions of a signage system

1 Passengers have to find the station entrance on the street, when inside the station building they have to be able to easily orientate.

2 After finishing the journey, passengers have to be informed where they can find the exits and which streets and changes they can access.

Budapest Underground Signage-arr.jpg
Clear logical structure

Clear logical structure

Passengers are able to interpret the signs in seconds (even from moving trains), since the signs contain only travel information. There is only one exception: toilettes.
Other services available in the building are on separate signs to prevent confusion.

Standardised signs are easy to produce
I developed an exact stem with dimensions and proportions in order to easily expand and modify the signs.