I love maps. Also, information design in general, like graphs and stuff. But especially maps!
My very first freelance design project was designing a guide/pamphlet around a map for the Ohio & Erie Canal. I met an actual cartographer (Yes! They still exist! MapQuest maps are not magically computer-generated!) and he introduced me to the intricacies of map-making. (Hi, Ken!) Since then I have appreciated maps as unique design problems: like all information design, form must follow function. But form is what the viewer notices first, and bad form can destroy function.
The new 2010 MTA subway map.
Anyway, the MTA (that's New York City's transit authority, and they have actual underground trains, which is awesome. *sigh*) has redesigned the subway map for the first time in a decade.
Overall the design changes are subtle, but I think they're mostly important. I like the color changes... they feel more contemporary, which feels right for NYC. I think the focus on the bulk of the system makes sense, over the previous map which lent more space to Staten Island. (Perhaps New Yorkers would feel differently... anyone?) The drop-shadow under the subway lines? Eh, not so crazy about that. Supposedly it makes the lines stand out more, but generally speaking I tend to think drop-shadows are over-rated. In this case they were handled just fine, they don't take away from the legibility, but on something with so many intricate details I think adding to the visual clutter was risky.
Take a look at the earlier maps shown in the article as well... I'm a big fan of the simplicity of the 1972 map.
First, according to a new study, changing the color of hospital gowns and hospital sheets to match the flesh tones of the patient could make diagnosis more accurate and easier.
"Small shifts in skin color can have tremendous medical implications, and we have proposed a few simple tools—skin-colored gowns, sheets, and adhesive tabs—that could better arm physicians to make more accurate diagnoses."
And second, if you're trying to decide on a color scheme for your ad, your web page, your bedroom, or you want to waste five minutes today, you might enjoy this tool: the Color Scheme Designer.
I'll admit it: The little goth girl inside me has a thing for Tarot decks. Not just Tarot decks, but religious and mythological symbolism of all types. (oh god, pull up mary, don't spiral into a geek sermon on symbolism...) OK, anyway, that combined with my obvious love of design and my obsession with LOST makes these Tarot cards by Alex Griendling irrisistable.
Apparently, the iPad lacks good typography. This is very distressing, since one of the things I imagine using the iPad for is reading electronic books.
These decisions were small or unnoticeable to the millions of future iPad buyers watching the announcement. But they stuck out like a sore thumb to typographers, whose job it is to make small, unnoticeable decisions that make text easier and more enjoyable to read.
This is exactly what good typography should be. Like editing in a film, when it's good you don't notice it but when it's bad it completely disrupts the experience.
I would like to talk about the ugly new design for Ohio's license plates because I care about design and because I am from Ohio. (Cleveland, specifically.)
Ohio's old license plate design wasn't amazing, but it was better. That design is known as the "Birthplace of Aviation design". (You may ask why we are called "The Birthplace of Aviation". It is because the Wright Brothers were born in Dayton, OH. [Yes I still identify as an Ohioan... which only gets my poor mother's hopes up that I will move home.])
This new plate is just a monstrosity of shapes and colors. It's a classic case of too much going on. The message is "OMG Ohio is SO AWESOME look we have farms and fields and cities and colors and also the Wright Brothers were born here and also we have this logo!" And I am not a fan of the new Ohio logo... again, I didn't love the old one, but the new one is just TOO MUCH.
I think Washington's plates are nice. Not great, but nice. Certainly better than some of the plates out there. Certainly better than poor Ohio's new plates.
Remember when plates were just a solid color with the state name on them? I like those. Simple. Functional.
Anyone have a vote for the best/worst plates in the union?