Here’s how it works: Each turn, you build some track and add a new station. And so do your opponents. Because you’re not the only line in town, you have competition. Your goal is to serve as many desirable blocks as possible, while keeping your opponents at bay. How? Well, every piece of track you lay down cannot be crossed. So every turn, you are building walls. The only way through is via stations.
Over time a subway system will develop, its layout determined by how you and your opponents have chosen to play the game.
I would buy this game in a heartbeat.
Book Review: “Vignelli Transit Maps”, Peter B. Lloyd with Mark Ovenden
As a graphic designer with a keen interest in transit maps and a fairly thorough knowledge of their history and usage, I thought I had a decent understanding of Massimo Vignelli’s diagrammatic version of the New York Subway map, which was used from 1972 to 1979.
This outstanding book has proved me almost completely and utterly wrong.
So much of what we think we know about the Vignelli map is simply hearsay and legend, repeated Chinese whisper-style across the internet, until we’re left with something that almost, but not quite, resembles the truth. Fueled by excellent research and interviews, and presented with beautiful (if occasionally a little small) maps, photos and illustrations, this book is essential for any lover of transit maps and good graphic design.
More than anything else I’ve read, this book places the Vignelli map in a proper historical context — what preceded it and why that left the door open for a modernist design firm (rather than cartographers) to produce something new, but also what led to its abrupt and premature death in 1979. There’s definitely more to the story than the usual “New Yorkers didn’t like a diagram/square Central Park/beige water” reasons that you often hear.
As well as a thorough analysis of the map itself — reproductions and accompanying text are presented for every version of the map — the book also delves deeply into the labour-intensive and time-consuming production methods required to create a map as complex as this in the days before computer-aided design. Asked to come up with an initial conceptual “trial map” in 1970, junior designer Joan Charysyn (who also independently created this New York Commuter Rail diagram in 1974) had to hand-cut pieces of PANTONE colour film into 1/8” strips and then assemble the route lines onto a one-foot-square board, adding station label type as well. Of the work, Charysyn simply states, “the execution of the comp was tedious and done in as few pieces as possible.”
The book also deals with Vignelli’s work for the Washington, DC Metro: he designed the wayfinding and station signage that is still largely in use today, but the contract for the system map was given separately to Lance Wyman. The book shows some of Vignelli’s very early (and very minimalist!) conceptual sketches for the map, and explains exactly why Lance Wyman’s proposed station icons (similar to the ones he had designed for Mexico City’s Metro) never got off the ground.
The book also discusses the reintroduction of the Vignelli map in 2008, comparing and contrasting it against the other modern player in the New York Subway map market — Eddie Jabbour’s Kick Map (Jabbour writes a preface for the book, and his admiration for Vignelli’s design philosophy and body of work is obvious).
This book is absolutely essential for any lover or student of transit maps or graphic design. It’s well written, thoroughly researched and beautiful to look at: what more do you need? Five stars!
Published by RIT Press, December 2012. 128pp.
Order page is here — Book is $US34.99 plus shipping.
(Note: Transit Maps purchased their own copy of this book, and did not receive any compensation for this review, financial or otherwise)
NY Subway Map and Tokens, 1990
Great little slice of history here. The photographer on Flickr seems to recall the cost of a token as being 60 cents at the time; Wikipedia prices it at $1.15.
As a graphic designer, all I can see is the terrible registration in the (cheap) printing — look at the huge yellow halo bleeding out to the right of the green and red printed areas. (In four-colour printing, green is made from combining cyan and yellow inks, red is made from magenta and yellow. When the plates are poorly aligned with each other, the presses run too fast, or cheap paper stretches or moves during the printing process, you get misalignment of the inks, leading to poor registration like this.)
EDIT: As has been pointed out to me, the tokens and the map shown in the photo aren’t contemporaneous. The “solid brass” token shown here was used from 1980 to 1985; during that time, the cost of a subway ride rose from 60 cents to 90 cents. (Source: nycsubway.org’s comprehensive page on subway tokens)
Vignelli NYC Subway Map - Street Grid
An image from Massimo Vignelli’s recent talk at the New York Transit Museum about the development of his (in)famous diagram. The chance to hear Vignelli talk about his work really makes me wish that I lived in New York.
Anyway, I find this image particularly interesting because it shows the underlying grid of streets and avenues that was used to place the route lines accurately. Although the map we see here appears to be the 2008 revision (which then evolved into “Weekender” map), you can be certain that the original 1970s version was based on a similarly exacting grid: order and structure in design is what Massimo Vignelli is famous for, after all.
(Source: *Bitch Cakes*/Flickr)
Illustration: New York City Subway Map
I’ve definitely witnessed people looking at the real map as if it resembled this — or worse.
Well, this isn’t going to win any wayfinding awards. Seriously, which idiot put a subway map this close to the floor, with downtown Manhattan at shin height?
(Source: one big shoe/Flickr)
Today: Santa Claus consulting map in subway (New York City, 1990 by Erich Hartmann)
Santa: “Excuse me, but which stop should I use for Macy’s?”
Her: “Why did I sit under the subway map?!”