September 18, 2014

Graphic Design Today and Yesterday: 2013 WalkNYC and 1970 New York subway system

Stephen Wilkinson, a PT friend in New York, writes:  “This is the portfolio of a graphic designer who worked on the WalkNYC Signage project – and some of the images are great.”

WalkNYC is a project led by the NYC Department of Transportation to build a network of wayfinding products to help New Yorkers and visitors orient themselves and find their way through the streets of New York. …
In June 2013, DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan unveiled the first sign in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Over the coming years, the program will expand to all five boroughs of the city.

Walk NYC


Pentagram was asked to design the graphic language of the system. Our work included the look of the sign itself, through to the smallest detail on the maps. …

WalkNYC 3


Many more details and images at Hamish Smyth’s webpage for the NY Department of Transportation.


Stephen found Hamish through this kickstarter campaign that is aiming to re-create the 1970 NYCTA Graphic Standards Manual.
For graphic-design aficionados (or those fascinated by transit history), it’s worth the click-through to see the video that describes the history of the graphic transformation of the NY subway in 1969-70:



The 1970 NYC Transit Authority Graphics Standards Manual, by Unimark’s Massimo Vignelli and Bob Noorda, reissued as a full-size book.


“If you get on the New York subway system today, the signs you see, more or less, faithfully and down to every detail follow the precepts that Noorda and Vignelli set out so many years ago.”

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