• 08.20.14

Browse Massimo Vignelli’s NYC Subway Manual On Twitter

The rationale and methodology behind the contentious 1972 subway map is now available on Twitter and the web.

Created in 1972, Massimo Vignelli’s revamp of the New York City subway map was as heralded by design nerds as it was reviled by New Yorkers. The designer transformed city geography into sleek geometric lines, which many people found confusing. Vignelli’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority map was phased out in 1979 in favor of a design hewing more closely to geographical reality, but not before Vignelli, who died this year, had put together a lengthy MTA Graphics Standard Manual. This document has been relatively hard to get hold of over the years.


Graphic designers Niko Skourtis, Jesse Reed, and Hamish Smyth want to fix that. The trio has started a new project called the Standards Manual that aims to post pages of Vignelli’s manual to Twitter every day as a dose of daily design inspiration. So far, the Standards Manual has posted pages detailing everything from Vignelli’s guidance for letter spacing on official materials to where to post signage in MTA stations (“…the subway rider should be given information at the point of decision. Never before. Never after.”)

The project started after the trio allegedly discovered a copy of the manual “in a locker beneath old gym clothes.” Every page of the manual is already available courtesy of the Standards Manual website, but if you prefer your genius dosed out in smaller daily doses, make sure to follow the official Standards Manual Twitter feed.