cmm

1970 NYC Subway Graphics Manual

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I'm working my way through this. Fantastic find!

The Subway is a great piece of design. I wish Chicago had a more unified style for the L. It's such a sloppy mishmash. "Enter Here For Trains" can't possibly be the best way to say what they're trying to say.

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I always thought the MBTA (Boston's T) had some of the best graphics & signage. Four primary routes (orange, red, blue, green), a newer bus line (silver), and the commuter rail (purple). Maps are very simple. Everything is pretty much Helvetica Bold, and even descriptive text is limited.

The one big change I've seen over the last few years is moving away from "inbound" and "outbound" signage in favor of the specific end-of-line stops. If you are using the T somewhere near downtown, it wasn't always instinctive to know if you needed to go further inbound or outbound to your intended stop, and the extra description makes travelling easier.

Here's a more recent map

map_mbta.gif

And here's some signage (note the smaller descriptive text next to "Inbound" and "Outbound")

south_station18.jpg

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They should have used this for branding the Brooklyn Nets

Wasn't the Nets branding tied to subways?

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They said it was based on the old black-and-white subway signage from before the MTA, but that always struck me as a retcon, seeing as how the typography wasn't the same at all and it was a foregone conclusion that Prop Owner Jay-Z would make the Nets wear black.

Lights Out and I both had Subway-oriented Nets concepts, but were told that the MTA would've sued the Nets for using Helvetica and colored circles.

Unrelated to the Nets, I really want to try doing a Chicago mass transit concept one of these days. I hate that they use Helvetica. Let that be New York's. Use Futura or Neutraface or something. Be your own thing.

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Well, most of the stops are gonna be covered in sponsor logos soon enough, so consistency of design will take a real backseat. Transfer to Red Line trains at Dunkin' Donuts Fullerton!

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If anyone's interested in more info about the history of design in the NYC subway system, check out these articles and book:

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They said it was based on the old black-and-white subway signage from before the MTA, but that always struck me as a retcon, seeing as how the typography wasn't the same at all and it was a foregone conclusion that Prop Owner Jay-Z would make the Nets wear black.

I don't think that's the word you were looking for. And FWIW, the typography's pretty close

Great manual - thanks for the link. Memories...

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