clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Iconic NYC subway design guide from the '70s is being reprinted thanks to Kickstarter campaign

New, 3 comments

Massimo Vignelli, the design mastermind behind New York City's subway map (among many other things) passed away earlier this year, but one of his most timeless pieces of work is coming back thanks to a Kickstarter campaign. As noted by FastCo Design, the official 1970 MTA Graphics Standards manual is now being reprinted as a full-sized hardback book.

The original 1970 guide was created by Vignelli and Bob Noorda and was a huge help in cleaning up the confusing subway system — there were no design guidelines, so it wasn't uncommon for different stations to have totally different signs, with some even being handwritten. The design guide helped standardize the MTA's style and make it much simpler for commuters and tourists to get around. As such, the guide became one of the more revered books for graphic designers.

A few years ago, a copy of the guide was found in the basement of design firm Pentagram — and thanks to a licensing agreement with the MTA, the guide being offered on Kickstarter is a complete and faithful reproduction. According to the campaign, the book will never be issued again after the Kickstarter closes on October 10th, though it's not clear if there's any limit on how many books will be printed.

It's not cheap — a copy will cost a $118 pledge — but you should get your money's worth. The massive book is a seven pound, 13.5-inch square that is 364 pages long. If you're a designer, you probably don't need to know any more to know that this book likely deserves a spot on your shelf.