Paul Shaw
The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2011, English
Nonfiction, Graphic Design
11 x 9.5 inches, hardcover, 144 pages, 273 color illustrations
ISBN: 9780262015486
Suggested Retail Price: $39.95

From the Publisher. For years, the signs in the New York City subway system were a bewildering hodge-podge of lettering styles, sizes, shapes, materials, colors, and messages. The original mosaics (dating from as early as 1904), displaying a variety of serif and sans serif letters and decorative elements, were supplemented by signs in terracotta and cut stone. Over the years, enamel signs identifying stations and warning riders not to spit, smoke, or cross the tracks were added to the mix. Efforts to untangle this visual mess began in the mid-1960s, when the city transit authority hired the design firm Unimark International (co-founded by Massimo Vignelli) to create a clear and consistent sign system. We can see the results today in the white-on-black signs throughout the subway system, displaying station names, directions, and instructions in crisp Helvetica. This book tells the story of how typographic order triumphed over chaos.

On 1 book list
Tiana Vasiljev

This book is a true type nerd’s delight. Helvetica and the New York City Subway System is one of the most well researched books I’ve ever read. Shaw’s beautifully illustrated publication is impeccably documented throughout and very well written. I was blown away by the amount of information and visuals contained throughout the book. Paul Shaw combines the facts and visual evidence, taking the reader on a historical journey into the world of the New York city subway system.

comments powered by Disqus