Graphic Communication Department
BS in Graphic Communication
Brian P. Lawler
This research explored the creative element of subway map creation in light of its effectiveness. Printed subway maps, used often for metropolitan cities and areas, are limited in physical dimension and scale, carrying minimal information. The New York, San Francisco Bay Area, Tokyo, Paris, London and Moscow subway maps highlight similar design and abstraction that fulfill the basic necessary elements for subway patrons. Over the years since the first metro map for each city was created, maps have become more simplified by removing physical land features and reference points to make way for expanding and new subway lines, stations, and transfer points. Thus, subway maps are more aligned with diagrams that are more wayshowing than wayfinding as a response to network expansion and a growing urban population. From inception to print, modern subway map development has reduced spatial representation of reality, possibly affecting subway patron map readability. Through focus on how design elements of subway maps have altered effective perception of map comprehension, future designers will alter how to effectively communicate visually to create a user-oriented experience.
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