Brooklyn: New York City Transit Authority, 1972.
New York City subway guide published in 1972, (A version) by the New York City Transit Authority. Designed by Massimo Vignelli. Page unfolded measures 21" x 18" and folded 7" x 3 1/2".
This 1972 subway map was the first of several iconic designs made by Massimo Vignelli of the New York subway system. Prioritizing readability and aesthetics over geographical accuracy, Vignelli's design provoked immediate criticism and even ire from the public, contrasted by critical acclaim for its ingenuity and utility.
Set in the Swiss-designed Helvetica font often used by Modernist designers, the guide shows all the routes comprising the subway system, including lines run by the IRT, IND, and the BMT. The front side of the map lays out the lines in different colors, with water colored in a shade of beige common to 1970s design. A key at the top assigns colors and delineates symbols, providing short descriptions of each route and its hours.
On the back is a list of every station on the map, each with its assigned color, line, and associated places of interest. When folded, the map's covers have a bold graphic design made from the lines' colors. The map is in excellent condition with very minimal wear along folds, slight abrasion on cover.
Vignelli's subway design was revised by the MTA six times in the following years, until 1979 when the MTA finally caved to public pressure and produced a more geographically accurate subway map designed by Tauranac.
Illustrator: Massimo Vignelli