Tag Archives: graphic design

Russia

Design the next Moscow Metro map

The City’s Department of Transportation has announced a contest to redesign the cartography of the Moscow Metro, one of the busiest and longest urban rail systems in the world. The impetus for the redesign seems to be the limitations of the current system diagram, which is light on information, and already quite dense with stations. More importantly, that map is about to get more confusing, because the Metro plans to grow 150% in size, with 70 stations to be added by 2025. So, there is a lot of material to work with.

I say cartography, because the brief asks for a tiered wayfinding system, where the diagram on the trains is expanded for each station to include relevant ground transportation and sites, at that particular station.

I am generally negative about designers doing work for free, but the restriction that this contest only be open to individuals ensures that the playing field is at least level, even if only one person is paid for the work that they do.

Submissions are due as PDFs by December 23rd, 2012.

 

 

 

Local Other

Fojol and 99 designs

I’m a bit overwhelmed with various jaints at the moment, but take a look at these prospective designs for the Fojol Bros. logo, made in a sort of capitalist fantasy called 99 Designs.

I’ve gotta say, though, the one I like the most is the one below. It’s so simple, yet so jaunty. I’m a fan of understatement (especially litotes), so even though this design doesn’t suit the Bros. too well, it deserves recognition.


Local

Some Sprawlway Agitprop

More on why the $4 billion 1950s-style highway-lobby project matters to DC forthcoming. Until then:

Click for print-resolution.
Click for print-resolution.
stop the sprawlway
Click for PDF.

Local planning

Rename or un-name the Bi-Purple County Line Transitway while it’s still possible (or cheap)

So the political wars over the Purple Line largely ended last week, when the light rail option was selected over the BRT one by the National Capital Transportation Board. The decision now frees the transportation enthusiast crowd to fight over petty and superficial little things, like, for example, the name.

The name “Purple Line” was born back to a day when a legitimate discussion was ongoing between an outer heavy rail line, and the inner light rail line. More specifically, it was born when the Bethesda-Silver Spring light rail line was a separate project from the Silver Spring-New Carrollton Purple Line altogether. But they were merged sometime back under Gov. Glendenning (Wikipedia says it was under Erlich, but that contradicts my memories), and suddenly everyone stopped paying attention to the PG County side. Governor Erlich had the decent sense to not oversell the mid-tier transit line, but managed to make the name situation worse. His DOT’s name, the Bi-County “Transitway,” is an unadulterated sample of bureaucraspeak, managing to say absolutely nothing about anything, while also sounding incredibly unexciting. Bi-County? Which counties? Washington and Allegheny? Marin and Cook? Transitway? There’s no meaningful thing that the term “transitway” promises, although it does sound a bit like a moving walkway or even a slidewalk. I hear that when you visit the mausoleum of Kim Il-Sung, they have one of those things.

But calling it the Purple line unfairly associates it with heavy rail lines that operate in a very different way. Mixing the modes damages the legibility of Metro’s human-interface concept, embodied in its map. More importantly, it disassociates the particualr line from its value as part of a larger network of streetcars. When extensions are made elsewhere and it is connected to the Georgia Avenue Streetcar, it will be possible to run trains from Bolling AFB to Bethesda. Rather than hype up one particular service, instead reminding potential riders of the total extent of the system will likely increase ridership.

Frankly, I think any distinctive branding should simply disappear into the area’s future streetcar network. David Alpert had it right in his metro scheme, simply drawing all overground rapid transit purple. But if named it must be, then let’s go with this spiffy dollop of NIMBY fears, presented in the style of Jim Graham:

That Bastard O’Malley/Erlich/Glendenning’s Inflationary-Federal-Fiat-Currency-Funded-Puce-Hued- Two-County-Not-Underground-New-Carrollton-Silver-Spring-Chevy-Chase-Bethesda-Oh-God-Won’t-Someone-Think-of-the-Trees/It’s-a-Combine-Harvester-for-Toddlers-All-Singing-All-Dancing-Thug-Travelator.

Anyone have a better idea? I, for one, can’t wait for the epic battles between the Sharks and the Jetsons.

Architecture

Three interesting things

Metropolis ran an article online discussing the unorthodox business model the firm Delle Valle Bernheimer employs. They have begun integrating development into their portfolio, realizing that controlling all elements of a project essentially cuts a lot of inefficiency from the process of getting something you care about built. In addition to giving them a high degree of control in regards to design and quality, it tempered their exuberance by bringing issues of engineering, cost, budgeting, and dealing with problems into their realm, on their bottom line.  Their strategy is not new – it’s a standard practice called design-build-operate/maintain – but this is one of the first boutique architecture firms to employ it. 

But back wen DB were just getting started, a depraved genius named Zak Smith managed to produce illustrations of each page of the book Gravity’s Rainbow. Somehow, he  managed to sit down and produce 760 works of art, in multiple media, depicting pretty much everything that happens in the book, in some way or another. I haven’t had a look at the whole thing, but the sheer amount of creativity would make an edition of Thomas Pynchon’s book with these drawings a worthwhile purchase.

And also terms of good (early) works, Metropolis has nicely been hosting blog posts about Yale’s First-year house project, where they also design-build a house for a local rent-to-own program.

Other

Jester Releases its “Solutions” issue a month ago

It should go unsaid that this is NSFW, but let me just say that this is NSFW.
It should go unsaid that this is NSFW, really.

I’m currently slowed by life-work-sickness issues, so accept this filler material until I finish the Fort Reno planning maps and some other writing.

At some point in the recent past, the Jester of Columbia, with whom I am associated, released its new issue, themed Solutions. Stay tuned for the April issue Recession. Bauhaus cooking is included in this issue, as is a parody of peakniks, and a host of letters and lists, some of which I contributed. Highlights include: The 99 problems Jay-Z does indeed have, Jonathan Franzen’s The Solutions, as well as the introductory Editaurus.

You may also be interested in the issues of the Jester I designed, Tragedy, Light, and Competition. Technology and Liquid are missing due to what one can only presume is incompetence.

Other

This may be the worst graph ever…

From the Delaware Recovery Site. There’s neither a scale nor any quanta, it’s made of shapes that distort the sizes, it has a dull gray background, the labels are unexplained and uncomfortably juxtaposed, and it sure takes a lot of space to say absolutely nothing here… Edward Tufte is probably having a conniption. This kind of graphical blather is no way to further government transparency and demonstrates plain incompetence on the part of the PR department.

planning

A Metrorail 20-year plan.

A lot of people have gotten in the game of designing personal opinions on the expansion of Metrorail. Greater Greater Washington’s Fantasy map is probably the best, so much so as to actually be used by WMATA, but I thought I’d try my hand at it too. The long-needed Blue Line split in particular merits attention, so here’s my suggestion for that bit. 

 

More explanation after the break…

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