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Massimo Vignelli’s NYC Subway Manual Is Coming Back In Print

When Massimo Vignelli redesigned the New York City subway map in 1970, he also put together a lengthy MTA Graphics Standards Manual. Half design porn, half design Bible, this manual has been relatively hard to find up until recently, when graphic designers Niko Skourtis, Jesse Reed, and Hamish Smyth found an old copy of the Standards Manual buried under old clothes in the basement of design firm Pentagram. But once discovered, its keepers started tweeting it, a page at a time.

But now, thanks to a Kickstarter campaign, you can own a copy for yourself. Licensed exclusively from the MTA, the Standards Manual will be reprinted as a full-size hardcover book, printed on 100 and 140 gsm Munken Pure ivory offset paper. The full book will be 364 pages long and contain 176 four-color plates, each of which has been printed from high-resolution scans of the original Graphics Standards Manual. In total, the book will weigh seven pounds, and feature a new introduction by Pentagram’s Michael Bierut, as well as an essay by Chris Bonanos, staff writer at New York Magazine and author of Instant: The Story of Polaroid.


It’ll be expensive, though: a copy of the reprinted Standards Manual goes for anywhere between $98 and $158, depending on how quickly you preordered a copy of the extremely limited printing. And if you wait too long, there’s another catch. There’s only a 30 day window to order a copy, but it looks like it’s going to sell out well before that 30 days is up. After the Kickstarter campaign is over, the book will never be reissued again. You can order a copy here.JB