Official Map: Metro and Tramway, Marseille, France

Not every transit map conforms to the Beck-inspired 45-degree angles norm. Many of these maps choose instead to be more geographically accurate, but some - such as this example from Marseille, France - veer towards the surreal, with routes careening crazily all over the place with little sense of aesthetics or clarity.

Have we been there? I spent half an hour at Marseille St. Charles waiting for a train to Nice, but haven’t ventured out into the city.

What we like: Not a lot.

What we don’t like: Just about everything. Let’s start with the appalling agency logo and move on from there. The route lines are terribly drawn, without any sense of flow or order at all - they almost seem scribbled on by someone who has no idea how the pen tool in Adobe Illustrator works. This map could be elegant if the curves in the routes were drawn properly and accentuated as a thoughtful part of the design, but as they are, the whole thing is just a mess.

I also can’t see why the Metro 2 Line is tinted back to pink instead of being red - all the other lines retain the full strength of their assigned colour, so why not this line?

Interchange stations are clumsily noted by a pink circle instead of the more usual linked circles or bars - full marks for trying something different, but I feel it doesn’t work very well and just adds visual clutter.

Finally, although station names, park and rides, and bus route numbers are all nicely boxed up, they never seem to combine into a coherent unit: sizes of elements don’t relate to each other, so stations like Bougainville and La Rose - which have a lot of connecting bus services - just look a complete mess.

Our rating: Bizarre and  ugly. 1 star.

1 Star

(Source: Official RTM website)