Re-creations of the cover and a few pages from Unimark’s 1970 masterpiece, the New York City Transit Authority Graphics Standards Manual.
Letter spacing / Page 9 (larger)
Letter spacing / Page 10 (larger)
Helvetica and the New York City Subway System / Paul Shaw
Type face / Page 4 — grid (larger)
Type face / Page 4 (larger)
The AIGA talk a few nights ago got me thinking about the 1970 NYC Transit Authority Graphics Standards Manual that’s supposedly buried somewhere here in our office. In its absence I found myself coming back to page 46 of Paul Shaw’s book, totally in love with Vignelli’s presentation, wishing for the real thing. Basic lessons in modern typography — letterforms, spacing, sizing, grid. And the insane kerning chart on page 10 that pre-dates “shift-option-]” by thirty years.
Then I had the totally crazy idea to reverse engineer the grid and create one of the pages in Illustrator. I tried not to question it — half dare, half therapeutic exercise, I quickly set up “Type face / Page 4” and kept going.
It’s not like I don’t have anything better to do — we’re really busy here at Soulellis Studio. Spending a day engulfed in the study of something you love — for no other reason but to see what you’ll find — is a luxury I can never afford. But I was able to get away with it today and it slowed my heart rate and I got a chance to absorb something I thought I knew in a totally different way. Highly recommended.