Official Map: Commuter Rail Strip Map, Lisbon, Portugal
A lovely above-door strip map from Portugal’s capital. By sacrificing geographical reality (only the Tagus River gives any sense of orientation), the three lines are able to be laid out for maximum clarity and legibility. The comprehensive legend has symbols for connections to the Metro, the private Fertagus commuter rail line to Setúbal, ferries, and buses. It even has a “camera” icon for stations with points of interest nearby, and a little “umbrella and beach towel” indicating stations with connections to the Atlantic Coast beaches.
If I had one complaint, it’s that the green oval indicating the centre of Lisbon looks a little overbearing and tacked-on compared to the simplicity of the rest of the diagram.
Porto Metro Signage
Looks quite lovely in location… although perhaps a little small to be seen from far away.
Official Map: Metro do Porto, Portugal
Porto, Portugal’s Metro light rail system is only ten years old, but is already a comprehensive and far-reaching network. With such a modern transit system, it’s important to have a map to match, and in most respects, this one certainly fits the bill. But does everything have to be so small?
Have we been there? No.
What we like: Some beautifully crafted elements, especially the bespoke icons for connecting services (bus, train, airport, etc.) Too many maps use the standard and dated ESRI icons for these, but these match the light, airy feel of the map perfectly.
The curves in the route lines are also beautifully executed, being wide and flowing throughout. I especially like the little s-curve from the Aeroporto station at the north end of the “E” (purple) line through to Verdes station.
What we don’t like: While beautifully designed, at anything but the actual poster size of 48x68 cm (around 19x27 inches), many of the elements are just too small. The route lines become very lightweight and spindly, while the “superscripted” parking symbol becomes almost invisible. As the map is downloadable as a PDF from the agency’s website, I feel better thought has to be given as to how the map displays on screen.
Our rating: A stylish and modern map to match a stylish and modern light rail system. Let down slightly by the smallness of some elements. Three-and-a-half stars.
(Source: Metro de Porto website)
Official Map: Metro, Lisbon, Portugal
A beautiful example of an abstracted rectilinear diagram - everything is evenly spaced, with subtle curves and a lovely complementary rounded typeface. The colours in this diagram work wonderfully well, with “traditional” route colours of Blue, Yellow, Green and Red being given a pastel twist and lovely icons that fit in with Lisbon’s maritime history perfectly. An excellent bi-lingual key and icons pack this map with useful information and all type is set horizontally. The overall effect is light and spacious - and very welcoming.
Have we been there? No.
What we like: The translucent effect as the lines pass over each other is lovely. The icons for each of the lines are beautiful, reflecting the former names of the lines themselves: Blue Line = Seagull, Yellow Line = Sunflower, Green Line = Caravel, Red Line = Orient (or East).
What we don’t like: Perhaps not enough geographical cues for out-of-town visitors - the abstractness of the diagram makes it a little too divorced from reality and perhaps difficult to use for sightseeing. The Metro logo seems placed in a very odd location - I think over underneath the “Network Diagram” text on the left may have worked better.
Our rating: Abstract and rational, yet still lovely and very welcoming. Beautifully designed, but at a slight cost to those who don’t use the system every day. Four stars.
(Source: Official Metropolitano de Lisboa website)