New York City Gets a New Subway Map

Living in New York day in and day out, I often forget how much design goes into the common things I encounter in the city. The logos on the taxis, the design of the bus stops and newsstands, and especially one of the first things I see every morning: the New York City subway map. The map is everywhere in the subway system, and it becomes a necessary tool that is easy to passover as a work of design.

I was recently reminded that the map is indeed a well-planned design when it was announced that there would be a new subway map put into use.  I got my first glimpse of the new map yesterday on my ride home from work. It caught my eye only because it was something different from the journey home that I had become accustomed to. The design of the map is only slightly adjusted from the previous layout, but the differences are there. More vivid colors. Larger proportions to Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and The Bronx, while Staten Island becomes smaller.

The New York Times has a great interactive article on the new subway map, including a look back at some of the previous maps used over time.

I like the new look, but it will take some getting used to. I'm sure there will be a few more moments of pause and double-takes when I encounter one of the new maps again. 

I love when things I see everyday are updated, such as the user interface of an app or the sign of a local restaurant. The update of the NYC subway map, however, has an additional impact for me. It reminds me how long I've been in New York, long enough now to see the changing of the guard in terms of the map that guides millions of New Yorkers to their destinations everyday.

the new map

the current (now old) map


  1. the new map looks less crowded

  2. very informative! i enjoyed the links to the other sites as well. gave a very thorough study of the map :)

  3. I leave for 3 weeks and they change the map!