GDES-270 spring 2020 (David Ramos, American University Design)
ramos@american.edu · office hours

Design two different versions of the MARC Penn Line schedule, one for legibility and clarity, and once to express the sense of speed and movement.

Version 1: Legibility and clarity

First, produce a version of the schedule that is as clear, legible, and understandable as possible. Focus on type hierarchy. Use changes in type to articulate differences in meaning, and similarities in type to connect elements that are related.

Think about:

Produce this version in InDesign. You’ll want to use tabs to control alignments.

Version 2: Expressiveness

Make a second version of the schedule that suggests speed and movement. This version does not need to be at all legible. Keep this schedule abstract—don’t draw pictures with type.

Work by hand. Start by printing your version 1 schedule, and cutting/gluing the type into new positions on a new sheet of paper. You can also print new type, but do your layout work by hand.

Think about:


You’ll develop your work through iteration—I would expect to see a dozen steps in this project before you arrive at your final two. As for every assignment, you should be saving each revision for your process book.


I’ve trimmed down the actual MARC weekday schedule and provided you with a simplified version. You can download the text as a PDF or as an IDML file (ZIP), ready for import into InDesign. (The IDML gives you a document that is smaller than letter size.)

Use all of this text in your final schedules. You may rewrite the notes for clarity.

You’ll be working with southbound weekday trains only, but you should design a system you could modify to cover northbound and weekend trains, as well.

Compare the MARC timetable website and actual print timetable (PDF), if you’re curious. Do not imitate them.



You may only use the fonts listed here. If you use two fonts, it would be prudent to pick a serif and a sans serif.

Plex and Libre Baskerville are free/open source, and you can install them on your machine. You can download OTF files for both fonts (ZIP). (See Apple documentation on how to install a font on a Mac.)

Adobe Minion is a commercially licensed font, which might be available through your Adobe account. If it’s not available, use the others.

This project is inspired by an assignment by Kali Nikitas, compiled in Teaching Graphic Design.