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Designing Transit Maps
Interactive book

Introducing a new book released by Bureau Gorbunov Publishing⁠—a practigal guide to transit map design. The book speaks of transit map history, important principles of their design, and how they evolve together with their networks. The author talks about techniques: plotting the lines, denoting the stops, choosing the fonts, and composing the final poster.

Not many designers have an occasion to design a subway map. But the principles and techniques discussed are applicable to any tasks of complex information display: org charts, family trees, control‑flow diagrams, fire escape plans, project timelines, military battle schemes, architectural drawings. The books sharpens the reader’s eye and inculcates attention to detail.

Circuit drawings are beautiful in their own way, but they immediately tell the reader: “I’m for the pros”. This is not an option for public information graphics. A designer has to untangle complex ties, find the best way to represent key objects, correctly position the captions. No matter how sophisticated the material is, it’s crucial to achieve clarity and legibility in display. Transit maps are a great subject to develop this skill.

Author: Ilya Birman
Art director of Bureau Gorbunov, information design teacher at Bureau Gorbunov Intern School

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Contents

The challenge

  • Map and reality
  • The first transit maps
  • Transit map diversity
  • Map as a symbol
  • Searching for the solution
  • Test

The principle

  • Correspondence between lines and routes
  • Color coding
  • Geometry
  • Orientation
  • Scope
  • Precision
  • Exceptions
  • Test

The layout

  • Grapheme
  • Graphical rhythm
  • Format
  • Test

The details

  • Line styles
  • Bundles
  • Bends
  • Stations and stops
  • Transfers and connections
  • The city: streets, parks, ponds, landmarks
  • Labels
  • Pictograms
  • Test

The system

  • Multiple formats
  • Index and coordinate grid
  • Line diagrams
  • Variability: scenario, passenger, language
  • Changes in the network
  • Designing for the future
  • Interactive maps
  • Test

We have radically reconsidered the format of a digital book

Before

Existing e‑books stand far from high standards of paper book publishing. Typography is poor, navigation and search is inconvenient. The layout and fonts are not controlled by authors and publishers. E‑books like these are randomly divided into screen pages: each time you open them, the same illustration may appear at the top, bottom, or even on the next page. On tablets, the pages get mixed up because of an accidental device rotation.

After

The bureau’s interactive book combines the convenience of scrolling and visuality of a paper book. It is divided into spreads that you can scroll through from beginning to end. The text on the spread may be scrolled when necessary, while the illustrations retain their position on the screen. The reader can easily remember the location of an idea in the book and return to it later. Spread is a semantic unit rather than the result of mathematical division of the book into “screens”.

You will need a computer or tablet with internet connection and any modern browser

👁 We recommend using Retina displays to read the book, though it works on low‑end screens, too

You will need a computer or tablet with internet connection and any modern browser

👁 We recommend using Retina displays to read the book, though it works on low‑end screens, too

The book on the screen

An interactive scrolling‑driven user interface creates a reading experience impossible with a paper book. The reader intuitively controls the change of illustrations or even a gradual redesign of given interface examples, going back or skipping steps as they like.

Bureau Gorbunov Publishing has established in‑house typographic standards for interactive books similar to or even more stringent than those in conventional print publishing.

bureau.ru
The book consists of spreads. Each spread includes a story and illustrated examples
𝍥
Reading on low‑end monitors approaches the convenience of paper books and is even more comfortable and enjoyable on Retina displays
𝍥
Reading on low‑end monitors approaches the convenience of paper books and is even more comfortable and enjoyable on Retina displays
The book consists of spreads. Each spread includes a story and illustrated examples
The book consists of spreads. Each spread includes a story and illustrated examples
bureau.ru

Test your knowledge

In paper books, “end‑of‑chapter questions” cause bewilderment and irritation. Interactive tests, on the contrary, encourage readers to apply their knowledge to illustrated examples and find out the result instantly.

91%
91%
Tests can help readers better understand the material. If not satisfied with the result, they study the chapter again and retake the test
Tests include questions about studied material and tasks on user interface evaluation: what is good, what is bad, and how can things be improved
bureau.ru
Tests include questions about studied material and tasks on user interface evaluation: what is good, what is bad, and how can things be improved
91%
91%
Tests can help readers better understand the material. If not satisfied with the result, they study the chapter again and retake the test
91%
91%
Tests can help readers better understand the material. If not satisfied with the result, they study the chapter again and retake the test
bureau.ru

Examples for everything

‘Designing Transit Maps’ is an everyday handbook and a well‑organized techniques catalog.

bureau.ru
Use the book as a reference during work
Find the suitable example or design pattern in your bookmarks, the illustrated table of contents, or search results
Find the suitable example or design pattern in your bookmarks, the illustrated table of contents, or search results
Use the book as a reference during work
Use the book as a reference during work
bureau.ru

Macro and micro

The books covers the topics from the most general to the smallest detail:

Sample chapter
Bends
Try now for free
Magic: the lines bend as you scroll

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About the book

Author

Ilya Birman

Publisher

Artem Gorbunov

Photographer

Vladimir Kolpakov

Developers

Rustam Kulmatov

Vasiliy Polovnyov

Maria Popova

Yuri Mazursky

Andrei Eres

Tester

Sergey Frolov

Assistants

Alan Kadzhaev

Namor Votilav

Nikita Scherbakov

Vitaly Tezyaev

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