Subway Maps Turned Into Artsy Typefaces

You must take the ABC train.

One of our favorite design tropes is the humble subway map. We also enjoy seeing the alphabet manipulated–into a guy shaving his beard into each of the letters, sketches of Beyoncé, monsters, animals, and Rorschach ink blobs.


Pauline Detavernier, to our great pleasure, has created a happy blend of letters and subway maps–in this case, Paris, London, and Moscow.

Detavernier, who is just 20 years old, took the subway maps of three cities with complex urban public transit systems–Paris, London, and Moscow–and chopped out chunks of them to form her own alphabet. Or, rather, alphabets: She constructed not one alphabet poster but two. The first is our own Latin (constructed of the Paris and London maps), and the second is the Cyrillic alphabet (constructed of the Moscow map). Detavernier tells us it was a school project (she’s in her third year in architecture school in Lille, France).

These aren’t natural chunks of the subway system, of course–no subway line is conveniently shaped into the letter “R” or what have you. But these sections of the subway include multiple lines so you can see them from a different perspective. She says none of the “letters” were manipulated: they all naturally intersect like that.

You can find (and buy) the project over at Detavernier’s Behance page.

[via Fubiz]

About the author

Dan Nosowitz is a freelance writer and editor who has written for Popular Science, The Awl, Gizmodo, Fast Company, BuzzFeed, and elsewhere. He holds an undergraduate degree from McGill University and currently lives in Brooklyn, because he has a beard and glasses and that's the law.