Graphic Design and Visual Communication
The 1979 NYC map contained train lines that were imaged by straight lines, causing riders to feel distressed.
The M.T.A. took note, formed a committee and brought on the design firm, Michael Hertz, to create a new map that would give passengers a better sense of where they were and how to get around. What happened next was a fascinating and unique approach at making the new subway map. Primary designer, Nobuyuki Siraisi, rode each train line with his eyes closed and would sketch in his notebook how he perceived the way the train followed its track–detailing the curves and contours of the train path. The previous map used straight lines to indicate train paths, but this was disorienting to passengers. The new map addressed this issue. Colors were also a large part of the new redesign. Previously, the old map had everything in a beige palette. Siraisi colorized the train lines to make them easily identifiable, as well as adding colors to landmarks, bodies of waters and parks by using their natural color.