Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Thursday, October 02, 2014
By Khrista Rypl
Friday, August 15, 2014
When Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo came out, it didn’t look like any other book of its kind. That’s thanks to Peter Mendelsund, whose uncluttered book jacket designs are irresistible, and always come from his deep engagement with the material.
Friday, December 21, 2012
The most recognizable edition remains the most controversial. 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. It also distorts geography. His map lasted just seven years before confused passengers convinced the MTA to replace it. Vignelli still staunchly defends his design, and in doing so, has offered some choice observations about other versions.
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.
“There’s too much information. The greatest thing about the London map, if you’ve ever seen it, is that they stick to the subway, the underground. Therefore, there’s no reference to above. In New York, they wanted to put everything. It was too much.”
“This is more a diagram, but again the details are very fragmented information. You see, all these boxes here, they fragmented the legibility of the line. The express [train] they made in a different way. So it’s too much going on...It could be simplified...Fragmentation is a disease of people that do not know how to design diagrams.”
1979 map, which replaced the Vignelli map:
“This is the map that came after our map. If you have to have abstract geography, why do you have it in any case? Why [sic] have it at all?
"And look at here [pointing to curved path of train line at lower Manhattan]. Who cares if the subway has to make a [turn] like that? I’m going, we’re all going, from Point A to Point B. How we get there is the conductor’s problem, not mine.”
2008 Subway Map
“We belong to a culture of balloons. [The designers] grow up with comic books, and this is what happens. There’s balloons all over the place. It’s ridiculous.”
His own map from 1972:
“Every line a different color, every stop a dot.”
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. Forty years later, graphic designers still laud Vignelli's map as a triumph.
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.
But, Vignelli is back in the subway diagram business. 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.
2012 “The Weekender”
“It doesn’t make any sense to print a map anymore. In a digital era, a map should be a digital map. All this information could become alive at the moment. So basically, The Weekender... will, should, become the regular map for all the stations. No more printed map. Printed maps are a trap for tourists.”.
“The blinking dots... are terrific. When you think actually, that there’s all this work in subway all the time, you get an idea of the complexity of the job, and what it means to run a transit system. It’s great. It’s a passion.”
Thursday, August 23, 2012
New York city is giving taxis a new look. There's the taxi of tomorrow set to roll out next year, but even the motley mix of sedans and SUVs out there now are getting a new paint job. And when they do, the city's yellow cabs come back more yellow and as this picture captures, with a new logo, fewer words, and more to the point. JFK airport gets a mention right on the door.
Here's a side-by-side comparison. (Or, top-by-bottom comparison?)
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Milton Glaser, renowned graphic designer and author of the new book In Search of the Miraculous or One Thing Leads to Another, discusses his new book about his creative process--and helps us launch a new project: Re-imagine the Peace Sign--as part of our End of War series.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Bob Paul is a graphic designer and painter who's been working in his attic since quitting his very first job. He doesn't need anybody else, because he doesn't care what other people think. His son, producer Richard Paul, also works alone, but doesn’t like it. Richard asked Bob about the ...
Saturday, April 16, 2005
Bob Paul is a graphic designer and painter who's been working up in the attic since he quit his very first job. He doesn't need anybody else, because he doesn't care what other people think. His son, producer Richard Paul, thinks that solitude like his dad's is almost addictive: ...
Saturday, November 06, 2004
After a divided election like 2004, it’s tempting to think that we live in an extremely polarized country comprised of red states and blue states. Graphic design is supposed to simplify complex issues into comprehensible terms, but have we fallen into a trap by embracing a 2-sizes-fits-all graphic design ...