WNW Member Emiliano Ponzi was sitting in MoMA’s Associate Publisher’s office pitching one project when the conversation shifted. They got to talking about Massimo Vignelli’s celebrated 1972 subway map, and the early stages of a very different project had begun. Two years passed from that first meeting to the release of The Great New York Subway Map, written and illustrated by Emiliano Ponzi.
In our interview below, the Milan-based illustrator and author lauds the support he received from MoMA as well as the New York Transit Museum, who gave him access to their archives. He also discusses the decision and challenges of creating a work whose intended audience is both children and the graphic design community. Design is something that informs the world around us; we engage with it everywhere, even if we don’t comprehend that unifying word until later on in life. What Emiliano and MoMA have created is not just a picture book but a reminder of the educational benefits of design, from learning how your surroundings function at a young age to recognizing the humanity behind design decisions.