Designing a Subway Map for a Digital Generation
Oct 22, 2020

The New York City subway map has a long and controversial design history. Massimo Vignelli’s 1972 diagram was clear and minimal, but difficult to navigate. The 1979 update by Michael Hertz Associates incorporated geographical elements, but hadn’t responded to technological updates of the past couple decades. Enter the MTA Live Subway Map, which launched Tuesday.

Filmmaker and Academy member Gary Hustwit’s latest short film, The Map, explores the ambitious endeavor behind Work & Co’s new digital “live map,” one that updates in real time. It takes paragraphs of scheduled changes and makes this content visual, bringing together abstract design and real data. Where do you place dots? When do you show street names? Do you show neighborhoods at all? How do you account for 27 line changes at once? All these questions went into Work & Co’s process—and Hustwit digs for answers.

See for yourself.

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