Worde is a tool we developed mainly so people could make their own bus blind prints.

Now, it’s very possible this is just stating the obvious. But what are bus blinds? And why are they called that?

These days, the term “bus blind” mostly refers to a kind of typographic / word art people hang on their walls. They’re also sometimes called tram blinds, bus scrolls, tram scrolls, train blinds, or destination scrolls.

A lot of people think they’re based on this sort of thing, which you can see in airports or train stations:

It’s true that these look a lot like the bus blind style of word art, that’s not where the term comes from. (Although, to be fair, these look really pretty cool, and they’d look even cooler on the wall at home, and we might have to think about making a Worde template so you can make them for yourself :)

A Short History Of Bus Blinds

The word “bus blind”, as you might expect from the name, actually comes from buses (or trams, or trains).

A bus blind in action

The reason is pretty simple: before digital displays became common, they’re what used to be used on the front and sides of public transport – in fact, if you keep an eye out for old buses, you’ll probably see one. A bus blind is literally a scroll, just like this, except, well, newer:

In old buses or trams, this scroll was turned by a hand crank or rotated at the press of a button, and the names of the different destinations would “scroll” through. That’s why when you use the wheely thing on your mouse to go down the page, it’s called “scrolling”.  And why “blinds”? Well, because the blinds in your house (unless they’re Venetian blinds) probably work the same way 😀

When old bus scrolls are unrolled and put flat on a wall, they have a distinct and very attractive typographic effect – by necessity, each destination must be exactly the same width, to fit the viewing window, which means smaller words have bigger letters and are stretched, and longer words are compressed. People liked the effect, so they began purchasing bus blinds as art – and, as the trend grew legs, other people began making custom word art that mimicked the bus blind “look.” The typography turned out to be a cool way to list inspirational quotes, or names of towns that wouldn’t normally go on a bus blind, or anything at all, really. Like this!

There you go! That’s a bus blind/tram blind/train blind/tram scroll/bus scroll/train scroll/destination blind artwork. We find it a bit of a mouthful, so we just call them Wordes.

I made that in about 30 seconds with Worde, so if you’d like a bus blind (or whatever you like to call it) feel free to make one yourself :)


– Josh.