1972 Vignelli Map of the New York City Subway System

New York Subway Guide. - Main View

1972 Vignelli Map of the New York City Subway System


Iconic design innovation.


New York Subway Guide.
  1972 (dated)     21 x 18 in (53.34 x 45.72 cm)


A masterpiece of 20th century graphic design, this is the 1972 Massimo Vignelli map of the New York Subway system.
Function over Geography
Vignelli's masterpiece prioritizes function over geography, illustrating New York's jumbled subway network in a simple systematized graphic. His map employs clean lines with 45 and 90 degree turns, fully dispensing with the actual curves of subway routes. Vignelli correctly intuited that users would travel 'dot to dot' and thus had no need of precise geographical accuracy.
The Map's Reception
Vignelli's map received mixed reviews. Graphic designers and other artists hailed it as a triumph of modernist design and utility. Others criticized the absence of above-ground landmarks, the distortion of those that do appear (particularly Central Park), and the murky beige indicating water. Nonetheless, the Vignelli map was used in New York Subways from 1972 until 1979, when it was replaced by the current Michael Hertz model.
Publication History and Census
This map was designed by Massimo Vignelli and published by the New York City Transit Authority in 1972. The map appears on the market from time to time.


Massimo Vignelli (January 10, 1931 - May 27, 2014) was an Italian designer who worked in public signage, package design, furniture design, graphic design, environmental design, and interior design. Born in Milan, Italy, Vignelli attended the Politecnico di Milano where he studied architecture and later the Università Iuav di Venezia. Vignelli earned a fellowship and visited America from 1957 through 1960, and then in 1966 he returned to New York to open the New York branch of Unimark International. While at Unimark, Vignelli oversaw design work for American Airlines, and designed the New York City Subway system's iconic signage. He also designed the signage and wayfinding system for the DC Metro. Vignelli left Unimark in 1971 and opened Vignelli Associates with his wife Lella Vignelli. Vignelli regarded the 1972 New York Subway system map he designed as one of his finest works. Today, Lella and Massimo Vignelli's entire archive of design work resides at the Rochester Institute of Technology as part of The Vignelli Center For Design Studies. More by this mapmaker...


Very good. Original folds. A bright, clean example overall.


OCLC 1065040648.