Tuesday 04 Oct, 2011

The Electric Tramcar Museum archive is a treasure chest of items waiting to be explored. It was our starting point for the redesign the tram tickets, part of an ongoing project by the museum and the STCP to revitalise this transport system. Digging around in the archive I found piles of old tickets dating back to the 1920's – more interesting graphically than any of the contemporary tickets.

I invited 3 of my MA students – Miguel Almeida, Diogo Lopes and Mariana Marques – to work on the redesign. The idea was not to re-edition the old tickets as faithful facsimilies but to use them as a basis for an updated version that establishes a connection with the graphic history of the company. We were keen to reintroduce the hole punching techniques formally used by the drivers to verify the tickets. The old museum punches were worn out and in ordering new ones we were surprised to find a range of modern punches that produced different shaped holes (star and square as well as circular). In addition, as a way of preventing counterfeiting the price of the ticket is reproduced using metal foil. 

By all accounts the tickets have been very popular with users and in particular – as one might expect – with tram enthusiasts. We will shortly be sorting through the archive again to see what other items can be brought back to life.