Vignelli’s Subway • Design Observer


You know you’ve really made the big time when a children’s book commemorates your achievements, as has been done for George Washington, Madame Currie, Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy, and now Massimo Vignelli. When I received the new children’s book, The Great New York Subway Map by Emiliano Ponzi (MoMA and New York Transit Museum) the title surprised me almost as much as when Vignelli’s original 1972 map was introduced. It was shockingly beautiful, but as Alice Rawsthorn wrote in the Times (2012) it was “indeed riddled with anomalies,” also noting “that was the point.” Vignelli had traded geographical precision for simplicity and accuracy in order to untangle the knot of intersecting train lines to make a clean diagram.

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