New Take On A Design Classic – Interesting but we’re not quite sure…

We’re probably all familiar, in varying degrees, with Harry’s Beck’s great design classic, the London Underground Map-the great icon of that source of typographic and design excellence, London Transport.

Beck was the Underground’s chief electrical engineer, and felt that the system’s maps, previously drawn on geographic lines, as shown below, could be rendered much clearer by recasting with a structure reminiscent of an electrical circuit diagramme.

Over the years the addition of more and more lines, the latest being the Crossrail project, has made the map more and more complex, causing confusion in some users.  Unfamiliar users can also have difficulty with a schematic map with no notion of geographical scale.

Doctor Max Roberts has proposed a rethink, recasting the map on circular lines, on the premise that familiar shapes are more readily comprehensible.  It’s a splendid piece of design, but will it catch on? Click on this map for a high resolution view…


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