Uptown to the Bronx: Vignelli's standards
February 15, 2013 7:19 PM   Subscribe

They found a copy of the New York City Transit Authority's Graphic Standards Manual in a locker covered with gym clothes. And decided to put it online.

Designed by Massimo Vignelli for Unimark International in 1970s, the standards manual provides the iconic look of NYC's subways today. While Vignelli is perhaps best known for the subway map, he's done other design work as well.
posted by sciencegeek (13 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
This signage for telephones caught my eye, especially as this manual is from 1970, three years after the debut of the circled T logo for Boston's MBTA, designed by Chermayeff and Geismar.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:51 PM on February 15, 2013

So, I grew up in Des Moines. Which, while a lovely place in many respects, is not the best place for a kid who really wants to get around and explore on his own. Weekends, I would find myself walking down the sidewalk of this treacherous street, over the train tracks and across a busy intersection to get to a True Value because, truth be told, there wasn't much else around for me to get to. I knew I wanted to grow up and live a different way, and cities were my out. My first picture of cities, these nirvanas of accessible transit that could take you to all different cultures and experiences I'd never dreamed of in Des Moines were videos on the news and on Sesame Street and everywhere else of New York City subways. Before I knew what a font was, before I knew the difference between a font and a typeface, before I cared about any of that, the perfectly simple implementation of the world's cleanest font said to me: clean, fast, efficient, modern, and available to you. Some day.

All by way of saying: Wow. Thank you. This is incredible.
posted by Apropos of Something at 7:53 PM on February 15, 2013 [12 favorites]

fuck those colours!!!!!!!!!!1
posted by PinkMoose at 8:45 PM on February 15, 2013

Man looking at this evokes a synesthesic false memory of men with buzz cuts and bright orange plastic chairs.
posted by The Whelk at 8:49 PM on February 15, 2013 [4 favorites]

This is the sort of thing I'd love to explore in super high-res, but this interface with the teeny-tiny zoom box is just annoying. Boo!
posted by barnacles at 9:07 PM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

This is the sort of thing I'd love to explore in super high-res, but this interface with the teeny-tiny zoom box is just annoying. Boo!

I had to resort to right-click>open image in new tab, because yes, that zoom box is annoying.
posted by billyfleetwood at 9:24 PM on February 15, 2013

Heh, I used to hang out at Tru-Valu too and I was only about 20 miles from Des Moines. And I did it partly to get out of the house but also because I loved the hardware store.

But I never longed for the crowded, noisy, confusing and dirty conditions I saw on Sesame Street. My small town also had very accessible transit: walking and bikes. The town was so small you could walk across it in 30 minutes, so I just took my bike or feet anywhere.

Love the site, though. Good layout but agreed on the zoom.
posted by DU at 2:58 AM on February 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Nice find!
posted by Thorzdad at 3:03 AM on February 16, 2013

I wonder what the gym clothes that covered this thing looked like. Adidas shoes, tiny running shorts, and headbands?
posted by hyperbovine at 5:47 AM on February 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

posted by Foosnark at 5:59 AM on February 16, 2013

I made a torrent of these images. All save the front and back cover are cropped to fit just the page in 1200x1200 pixels. I made no other changes.

Have at it.
posted by LogicalDash at 6:31 AM on February 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

I still prefer the Vignelli map, or even better, the KICK map, which closely resembles it.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:48 PM on February 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Update with less kludgy access to the images:
Flickr Set from Joe Clark (and the blog entry in which he discusses it).

And a link to a site where you can find a pdf of the thing.
posted by sciencegeek at 4:13 AM on February 20, 2013

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