Unofficial Map: Montreal Métro in the style of the London Tube Map
Here’s a fun little piece sent my way by Montreal-based designer Corey Landel: the Métro de Montréal redesigned in the style of the iconic London Underground map.
While it’s definitely a fun little homage, I do feel that Corey could have pushed a little harder to match the designs more closely and demonstrate a better understanding of the “Beckian” principles at play behind the design of the Tube map (in short, absolute simplification of route lines, even spacing of stations and eradication of any angles other than multiples of 45).
Because, if you’re going to create something “in the style of”, why not go the whole way?
A few thoughts, based on the concept that the idea is to get this map as close to the style of the Underground Map as possible:
Gill Sans as used here is an acceptable alternative to Johnston Sans, but there are also pretty decent free versions of Johnston to be found on the Internet. Worth it for the distinctive diamond-shaped tittles alone.
The zig-zagging route at each end of the Green Line on Corey’s map would never be present on the Underground Map. The jog between Verdun and Joilcoeur would be eliminated, while the whole eastern end would follow one straight path, with perhaps one change in direction to a vertical line for the last few stations if space restraints demanded it (as it looks like it might here).
On a similar note, the non-standard angles on the Yellow Line would also be verboten on the Underground Map. There’s really no reason why it just can’t be a straight horizontal line, except to conform to the underlying geography. Which brings me to my next point…
Treatment of rivers: On the Tube Map, the Thames is treated diagrammatically, the same as the route lines. The approach on Corey’s map pretty much mirrors that of the official Montreal map, with stylised/simplified geography underlying a diagrammatic representation of the lines.
The suburban trains shown on this map are analogous to the London Overground, so perhaps they could be treated in a similar way. However, this does create a colour clash with the Orange Line that doesn’t exist on the Tube map. A compromise could be to use the white-stroked line from the Underground map, but a different colour, like the lovely purple the official STM map used to have before the recent redesign.
Other general aesthetic differences include the lack of curves in the route lines as they change direction, the look of the standard station tick (there’s no curved cap on the Tube Map’s symbol) and the thickness of the black keyline around the interchange station symbols.
Pro Tip: The official London Tube Map PDF is not protected in any way and is fully openable and editable in Adobe Illustrator. Any aspiring transit map designer should really download a copy, open it up and see what makes it tick. I know that doing this aided my understanding of transit map design principles immensely.