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17.10.2014
This fall will mark the fortieth anniversary of the Vignelli Subway Map.  Used by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) from 1972 until 1979, this map, designed by Massimo Vignelli, who, along with Bob Noorda, is also responsible for the unified signage design of our subway system. One key reason that the Vignelli Map did not last in New York City is explained by Michael Beiruit in his article “Mr. Diagram maps like this Vignelli subway map fail because you need two maps – one to get around the system and a second to see the streets.


Vignelli’s design is more of a diagram, where the location of what lies above, namely streets and rivers and parks, is of no consequence. You can’t tell from a diagram how close some stations really are, making a potential change of trains unnecessarly. As a result, the geographical liberties that Vignelli took with the streets of New York were immediately noticeable, and commuters without a taste for graphic poetry cried foul.





New york city transit lines
Garden railway foundations



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