The light at the end of the tunnel may be an illuminated clock face.
In a sign that the Metro-North Railroad is preparing to celebrate the centenary of Grand Central Terminal next year, a new logo began appearing this week on display screens in the main concourse. It is a stylized but instantly recognizable version of the four-faced clock that crowns the central information booth and has served as a landmark for countless impatient rendezvous. The hands of the logo’s clock are set at 7:13. In the evening, that would be the equivalent of 19:13 on a 24-hour clock — the year the terminal opened.
Michael Bierut and Joe Marianek of the firm Pentagram designed the logo. It uses the typeface Avenir Next, designed by Adrian Frutiger in 1988. It will supplant an interlocking monogram that now serves as the logo, and it’s intended to be used after the anniversary, when the “100 Years” line will be clipped off.
“By focusing on what is perhaps the one of the most famous clocks of all, we mark the passage of time on one hand, and the beginning of new journeys on the other,” said Randall J. Fleischer, a senior director of the railroad.
With all due respect, however, the information booth clock is not the only strong graphic image that could have been used. Grand Central presents many faces to the traveling public and to those who come in just to experience the place. (Or buy an iPad.)
If Metro-North had asked you to design a logo for Grand Central’s centenary and beyond, what would you have imagined? Something based on the Beaux-Arts architecture of the terminal? Would you have summoned the experience of commuting? Or of threading your way around slack-jawed tourists who stand rooted to the floor of the terminal — staring, no doubt, at the four-faced clock.
We welcome your ideas. Please send a JPEG file (preferred) or a PDF to [email protected] It needn’t be any larger than 1000 pixels in its greatest dimension. Your submission should look good on your own computer screen when it’s about five inches across or five inches high. We’ll publish a gallery of the best alternative logos before 2013 rolls around. Read our submission guidelines below.
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