Historical Poster: “Be Map Conscious”, London Transport, 1945
Here’s another beautiful old London Underground poster that features the Tube map, apparently produced to help servicemen unfamiliar with London get around. The poster, which basically acts as a Tube Map for Dummies guide, was placed next to the map in stations, with the abstract guard pointing towards it. The “tear-away” section at the bottom right shows a slightly modified version (angles aren’t at 45 degrees, the Aldwych spur is missing) of the central part of the map, which would have been this 1943 edition.
The artist was Polish-born Jan de Witt (1907-1991), signed as “Lewitt-Him” on the poster.
(Source: Creative Review)
Design for Shopping poster for London Transport, 1935
Design by O’Keeffe
via Mikey Ashworth
You just can’t beat 1930s London Underground posters - a superb mix of art, design and branding. This one’s a real beauty! Of interest is that it playfully echoes the look of Beck’s Tube Diagram, then only two years old.
Historical Map: LNER Northumberland and Durham Quad Royal Poster, 1934
Painted by prolific transport poster artist Montague B. Black, this lovely poster shows the services of the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) in England’s north east in 1934. The view stretches from Middlesborough all the up the Northumberland coast to the Scottish Borders and beyond. Each city is painted in imprecise but evocative detail, as is Hadrian’s Wall, shown stretching from Carlisle to Newcastle across the centre of the map. The late afternoon colour palette employed is particularly beautiful.
Definitely worth clicking through to Flickr to view this large.
Official Map: Public Transport Network of Debrecen, Hungary
Sent my way via a comment left on the website regarding the woeful map of Szeged, Hungary (Sept. 2013, 0.5 stars), here’s another truly awful transit map from Hungary: this one from its second-largest city, Debrecen.
In short, it’s an absolute disaster.
Route lines branch off in any direction (no constraining angles to 45-degree increments for this bad boy!), while labels are jammed in wherever they can fit, at any old angle. The labelling is so bad, that the map has a large part of the legend at the bottom left devoted to defining abbreviations that are used in an attempt to shorten names to make them fit! At least none of the labels cut through route lines, but the means don’t justify the ends here.
Technically, even the curved parts of the route lines are actually short sections of straight paths that simulate a curve (badly), making me think that this has been put together in CAD software, rather than a design/illustration application.
The strangely subdued colour scheme (a lot of pastel pinks, purples and greys) doesn’t help matters either: there’s very little contrast between a lot of adjacent route lines, which makes following them difficult.
Almost apologetically, the text above the legend states: “Attention! Map not to scale.”
Our rating: An absolute eyesore. This style of map is fairly common for bus/tram networks in Europe, and can work when executed well (see Viteks Bariševs’ unofficial map of Riga, Latvia), but this is definitely not working at all. No stars.
(Source: Official DKV site — also an “interactive” Flash-based version of the same map, and an SVG download if you want to open it up in Illustrator for some laughs)
Submission - Unofficial Map: Metro and Suburban Rail, Milan
Submitted by Dmitry Goloub, who says:
It all started when in Moscow was initiated a public tender for creation of a new, modern metro map. I was really excited and made an imaginary metro map for Florence (IRL there’s no metro).
But then I thought that I can do something really useful. A map for a real transport system that would be helpful, beautiful and clean.
I have completely redesigned the Milan Metro Map. I have added the latest updates with line M5, a grid with alphabetic list of stations, airports, I have created a new set of pictograms and packed them into a symbol font. I have created a completely new style that does not copy any other transport map in the world.
This map now has its own character, just like the city. The emphasis is put on the M lines however you can clearly understand how to use both M and S lines, how to get from point A to point B. The current official map just shows the S stations, it does not show to which line a station belongs.
I have excluded the regular railways (RFI) because they’re not a metropolitan transport.
Full project information and a PDF is here, free for download.
Transit Maps says:
Wow. This is absolutely beautiful work,and quite superior to the somewhat stuffy official map (March 2012, 3.5 stars).
Dimitry hits the nail on the head when he says this map now has a character that’s unique to the city, and its a look that feels appropriate for fashion-conscious, forward-looking Milan. Everything here is created especially for this map: the lovely custom icons, the square-yet-round station markers, and the stunning ribbon-like effect used for the suburban rail lines, which has a lovely rhythmical flow to it. Even the slight checkerboarding pattern used for the grid (alternating squares are tinted a little darker) — which could look clumsy if not handled well — is handled deftly and subtly.
Our rating: Hand-crafted excellence that suits its target city perfectly. 5 stars.
P.S. Seriously, are Russians the best transit map designers at the moment or what? This beautiful piece, Michael Kvrivishvili’s contest-winning MBTA map and Lebedev Studio’s Moscow Metro redesign. All such beautiful work and something for other designers to aspire to.
Detail, Transit Map of Milan, Italy
A detail of a city-wide map showing the approximate limits of the historical centre of Milan. I’m guessing that this is located in or near the Duomo Metro station, based on the way that the map is worn away at that point — as I’ve mentioned before, many users will actually point to their starting location on a map as they trace their intended route.
Tge thick green/yellow/red lines are the Metro, blue lines are the tram and brown/maroon lines would be buses. Numbers in circles show route termini; numbers in squares allow you to follow a route from point to point.
The area shown here is actually easily walkable without the use of public transport, unless you’re in a hurry, I guess!
Fantasy Map: Tyneride BRT Network Map
Utterly plausible bus rapid transit (BRT) system map for the Tyneside region of England, designed as if it was a division of the Tyne & Wear Metro.
While I can’t comment on whether Nexus/Metro would ever actually operate its own BRT network, I certainly can’t fault the aesthetics of the map itself. It’s absolutely spot-on, mimicking the look of the official Metro rail map (Nov 2011, 3.5 stars) perfectly. The 30/60-degree angles and the use of the distinctive Calvert slab serif typeface all convince the viewer that this is an official Metro map.
If anything, it’s perhaps a little too similar — the only indication that this is a BRT map as opposed to light rail is the red “B - Buses” symbol at the bottom left, a riff off the iconic yellow “M - Metro” logo.
Our rating: A fun visual homage to a well-known system map, although perhaps a little too close to be successfully adapted to real-world usage if such an event ever occurred. Three stars.
This is an aerial view of surface public transport routes in Budapest, Hungary – the idea came from the work of Taylor Gibson posted on transitmaps.tumblr.com.
Following the general convention in Budapest, bus lines are blue, trams are yellow, trolleys are red, and suburban railways are shown in green. As for the direction of the image, the Danube flows approximately from the north (upper right corner) to the south (lower left corner). Elevation is shown with a vertical distortion factor of 2.0.
There are a few notable elements in the picture. First, there are three tram lines that go up the hills in the upper left corner – the middle one is actually a cog-wheel railway, now classified as a tram by BKK, the operator. Second, the two suburban railway lines going southward are not connected: there is about only 500 meter between the two, and while the connection has been planned for many years, there is no timeframe set for the completion. Third, notice that trolleybuses are only running on the Pest side of the city. While there used to be a line in Buda, it was destroyed in the second world war. New lines in Pest were opened in late forties and early fifities, then more were added in the 70’s and 80’s, mostly replacing old tram lines which ran in the narrow streets of Pest.
The extensive night bus system of the city is not shown in this image.
Nice work! The radial nature of transit here is immediately evident, and the lack of trolleybuses on the “Buda” side of the river is fascinating.
Detail - Elephant & Castle, London Bus Map
When you have sixteen routes passing through one stop, it might be time to rethink your approach to station/interchange design.
I do note that the current TfL “Buses from Elephant & Castle” spider map (external PDF link) shows this interchange with a geographical street map — a huge improvement which also has the advantage of showing you exactly where each bus stand is (there are eighteen!) and which buses stop at them.
(Source: Mach V/Flickr)
Official Map: Rhätische Bahn, Switzerland
The Rhätishe Bahn (or Rhaetian Railway) is a publically-owned Swiss railway*, serving the huge and mountainous canton of Graübunden. The Swiss Federal Railways extend only a few kilometres over the cantonal border to the capital at Chur, as seen at the top of this interesting little map. Placed underneath the window on trains, between facing rows of seats, this map features something I’ve never seen on a diagrammatic map before: elevation contours.
Four colours — green, brown, blue and white — signify four bands of elevation, all the way up to 4,000 metres (13,000 feet) above sea level! Because of this, it’s quite easy (and very interesting!) to see how the railway mainly runs along valleys at lower elevations, and where tunnels are needed to cross from one valley to the next.
* Corrected a previous version, which stated that the railway was privately-owned, which it is not. This is why you shouldn’t always believe everything you read on Wikipedia, kids!