Style Guide Nerds Rejoice: It's the MTA Graphics Standards Manual from 1970

Massimo Vignelli was the Italian designer tasked with communicating how residents and tourists alike should navigate the NYC subway system. The original MTA map was "riddled with anomalies" and "sacrificed geographical accuracy for clarity by reinterpreting New York’s tangled labyrinth of subway lines as a neat diagram."

Unimark International sacrified nothing in this detailed and exact guide for how to implement Vignelli's work. It's (not so) surprisingly fun to peruse their work, cover to cover, color to color, number to number. Hopefully this will appeal even to those that make fun of design nerds, highlighting how impactful design can and should be in everyday life. 


The MTA released a limited edition print in 2012 for the map's 40th anniversary for $500 a pop. Sort of wish I had acted fast enough when Vignelli mentioned the opportunity at the 2012 Brand New Conference. (If you haven't been to one of those, you should consider going. I've been to two out of three, including this one where Vignelli spoke.)

2012 Brand New Conference Preview: Massimo Vignelli from UnderConsideration on Vimeo.

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