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admin 20.02.2014

We present some of his comments to you, as recorded during a talk Vignelli gave earlier this year at the New York City Transit Museum. When the NY MTA hired Vignelli to develop a new plan for subterranean navigation, he was tasked with streamlining the wayfinding process for riders and bringing New York into the future.
Train routes were straightened into neat angles to make a tidy diagram out of the actual snarl of criss-crossing tunnels. However beautiful, it is geographically abstract, bearing only inadvertent resemblance to the actual street grid above. For example, the Vignelli map portrays the 50th St stop on the Seventh Ave line, now the 1 train, to be west of the 50th St stop on the Eighth Avenue line, now part of the C and E, confusing New Yorkers with hardened mental pictures of the city in their mind and sending tourists wandering westward into Hells Kitchen hunting for non-existent subway stops. Just seven years after it was released, the MTA replaced Vignelli's “diagram,” as he calls it (because maps only represent geography) with a more traditional map.

Designer Massimo Vignelli's clean modern lines and bold colors changed the branding of the subway in 1972 and elevated the map to the level of modern art.
With the help of a new design team, he created “The Weekender,” a digital interactive subway map directly inspired by the 1972 hand-drawn diagram. His map lasted just seven years before confused passengers convinced the MTA to replace it.
If you wish to use a subway map in your own project, you should consider licensing the official MTA map, or try New York City Subway Route Map by SPUI, which is in the public domain. Vignelli still staunchly defends his design, and in doing so, has offered some choice observations about other versions.

Additionally, if you are having trouble seeing the map below (perhaps because you have disabled JavaScript in your browser), Click Here.

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