April 26th, 2007
Designer Eddie Jabbour has redesigned (unofficially) the subway maps for New York City. The new designs focus on ease of use and simplicity. Most importantly, they shows how very unimportant accurate representations of geography are for things like subway maps.
Jabbour works for Kick Design. His work on the subway maps can be seen at the official site here:
The differences between the current official NYC map and Jabbour’s maps are striking. It’s most apparent when viewing the entire subway system at once.
I think that Jabbour’s designs are just plain pretty. Being not quite so familiar with NYC, Jabbour’s designs make me feel somewhat warm and fuzzy at the thought of riding the subway. This is a distinctly different feeling than the one I had the last time I was in NYC looking at a subway map to figure out how to get from Queens to Manhattan, and then around Manhattan.
There is an interesting article on 37signals about Jabbour’s designs and his intentional distortion of geography to simplify the map of the subway system.
The 37signal article uses the London Underground as an example of where this strategy has been used before. Of course, since I live in Boston, I was immediately thinking of the MBTA maps.
I think I lived in Boston for about a year before I realized how not geographically accurate those maps were.
There’s some more brief commentary on Kottke as well.
Via Daring Fireball.
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