Journal Article

Useful Reading? Designing Information for London's Victorian Cab Passengers

Paul Dobraszczyk

in Journal of Design History

Published on behalf of Design History Society

Volume 21, issue 2, pages 121-141
Published in print January 2008 | ISSN: 0952-4649
Published online January 2008 | e-ISSN: 1741-7279 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jdh/epn009
Useful Reading? Designing Information for London's Victorian Cab Passengers

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • History of Art
  • Art Forms
  • Industrial and Commercial Art
  • Art Styles

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

Considered in an historical context, the design of information for everyday use can tell us much about the experience of reading for action. This article focuses on the extraordinary range of information designed for London's cab passengers in the nineteenth century, focusing on fare books, lists, posters and maps. The article assesses how the largely anonymous designers of these documents—publishers, mapmakers and printers—sought to address the perceived needs and abilities of their intended readers, and explores how actual readers responded, focusing, in turn, on two groups: regular cab users (invariably assumed to be upper- or upper-middle-class men) and strangers to London, whether foreigners or otherwise. The paper demonstrates how accounts of reading experience link design and use and bring into focus the effectiveness, or otherwise, of the former. Even in the context of this very specific case study, the article's analysis of readers' responses to information design suggests varieties of historical everyday experience that have yet to be considered by historians, but, like other forms of reading, warrant our close attention.

Keywords: London; nineteenth century; transport; typography

Journal Article.  10644 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Art ; Art Forms ; Industrial and Commercial Art ; Art Styles

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.