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28 April 2011

Design Classic No.145 - The London Underground Map

It takes a brave designer to completely change the recognised and conventional way of producing something, but that’s exactly what Harry Beck did with the London Underground Map in 1931.

Original syle maps:

Beck was an employee of London Underground who had the brilliant realisation that because the railway ran mostly underground, the physical locations of the stations were irrelevant to the passenger wanting to know how to get to one station from another — only the topology of the railway mattered.

Thus he devised a simplified diagrammatical map, consisting of stations with straight line segments connecting them, where the lines ran only vertically, horizontally, or on 45 degree diagonals. It immediately became popular, and the Underground, as well as many other city travel maps, have used this style to illustrate their networks ever since.

Beck's Map:

Today's map:

Design at SoVibrant www.sovibrant.co.uk

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