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NYC’s New Street Maps Embrace ‘More Is More” Design

NYC’s New Street Maps Embrace ‘More Is More” Design
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The DoT's WalkNYC program includes pedestrian signs that are clear and easier to read than traditional maps.

Leah Gonzalez
  • 8 july 2013

It’s easy to get lost in a big city, even if you’re a local. That is why New York City’s Department of Transportation (DOT) decided to come out with the WalkNYC program, which will give NYC locals and visitors a brand new set of street maps that are easier to read.

The DOT partnered with the PentaCityGroup, a special consortium that includes PentagramBillings Jackson Design, the RBA Group, CityID, and T-Kartor.

WalkNYC-maps-1

Pentagram created the graphics and aesthetic designs on the maps. Billings Jackson Design created the 8.5 foot tall map kiosks, with the RBA Group taking care of the engineering aspects to make sure they’re sturdy enough for the streets of New York. CityID determined where the kiosks should be placed and the cartographers at T-Kartor took care of getting the information for the maps.

You can watch Mike Rawlinson of City ID and Eoin Billings of Billings Jackson discuss their collaboration in planning and designing these wayfinding terminals here from PSFK Conference 2013.

According to Michael Beirut, a partner at Pentagram, they wanted to do a ‘more is more’ approach to the maps.

There’s so much information on these things. As opposed to trying to be reductive, we just tried to keep adding and seeing how much we could withstand on them.

The maps were simple and clean, yet detailed so that people could make out the difference between landmarks like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the NYC Public Library. Specific icons were added and a new version of the typeface Helvetica was used to make the maps look modern and ‘very NYC.’

WalkNYC-maps-6

View more images of the maps below.

WalkNYC

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