Pentagram partner Luke Hayman has designed a clever little guide to New York designers. Done up like Massimo Vignelli’s iconic NYC subway map, it assigns "subway stops" to key figures in the city’s design network, both past and present, from Sagmeister Inc. to the late ad-industry pioneer Helmut Krone to, yes, Pentagram itself, which, incidentally is just four stops away from Vignelli on the blue line, heading toward William Golden.
You’ll note that the subway lines look nothing like those of the original map. Instead, they converge and diverge, oddly, into the shape of an ampersand. The reason: The map was a project for the Amsterdam-based interior design magazine Eigen Huis & Interieur (EH&I). Each month, the magazine taps a creative studio to design its logo, an ampersand, on a page that leads into the feature well; EH&I invited Pentagram for a recent issue about New York. "Our team brainstormed and this was one of the ideas we loved," Hayman tells Co.Design. "Of course it’s a little reminiscent of The Great Bear by Simon Patterson—his play on the London Underground map—but we felt ours was different enough."
The ampersand is the only organizing feature here. Designers are not, for instance, arranged according to their offices’ location. (And there you were thinking Pentagram was so unhip as to have headquarters on the Upper East Side.) "We did try all sorts of systems—each line being a different discipline and geographically based but we couldn’t get it to work," Hayman says. "So we just mixed it all up. The type is very small in the printed version and we’re assuming most of the names will be unknown in The Netherlands so decided the big idea was enough."
As for how designers got picked: Initially, Hayman and his team gathered names by researching professional organizations and awards, but quickly realized that they couldn’t fit everyone on the page. So began what Hayman calls "the ruthless cutting process." First, they invoked a few rules: entire disciplines got tossed, as did companies that aren’t headquartered in New York City. "Then it became totally corrupt," he says. "It comes down to a list of F.O.P.s (Friends of Pentagram)—a list of our buddies. I know we left out so many great people so we’ll have to do a second edition sometime."
[Images courtesy of Pentagram]