A 1972 map of the New York Subway system. Going to be using this a lot in a couple weeks so thought I would post it up. This is of course based on English graphic designer Harry Beck’s original topographic map of the London Underground (as Paul Mison pointed out in the comments, this is a later version of the map, not Beck’s original). This style of map was revolutionary at the time (1933) since it eschewed the geographically correct maps of the age for topographic representations of systems.
“A schematic diagram rather than a map, it represents not geography but relations. It considerably distorts the actual relative positions of stations, but accurately represents their sequential and connective relations with each other along the lines and their placement within fare zones.”
– From Wikipedia “Tube Map” Article
This must have been a very big logical departure for a lot of people and a lot of credit is due to Beck for having the intuition to draw the map in this new way. Of course all this is beside the fact that it’s just plain beautiful to look at and a great work of graphic art in it’s own right. To this day, Beck’s map still influences the way networked systems are represented, the above image being a great example. I don’t think many designers can claim such a revolutionary concept as their own.