1970 NYCTA Graphics Standards Manual

The Standards Manual Compact Edition is a 10" x 10" reissue of the New York City Transit Authority 1970 Graphics Standards manual designed by Massimo Vignelli and Bob Noorda. The Manual details the theory, typography, color, and other graphic elements to instruct, in great detail, the design of the NYC Subway system signage in 1970. Massimo Vignelli's personal copy of the original manual was the source material for each of the high-resolution page scans. Printed with 13 colors in Italy, each of the 176 color plates uses a stochastic screen to ensure the highest level of detail and richness of black possible. - "Massimo Vignelli used to speak of entropy, that inescapable scientific principle that dictates that systems fall apart, that extremes revert to the mean, that every rare instance of excellence is doomed to succumb to the average. I think he would have guessed that the same would happen to his subway signs: more compromises would be made, more mistakes would be enshrined as law, and the whole system would eventually slump back into a new version of the chaos which it had replaced. Yet something amazing happened. The system endured. It endured, I think, for one reason: this book. The New York subway, despite its daunting complexity, is a finite system. That means that the standards manual that Vignelli, his partner Bob Noorda and their colleagues at Unimark created to control the appearance of its signs are that Holy Grail of design solutions, a Theory of Everything. There have been modifications-Vignelli was pleased that he got his way with Helvetica at last-but the essentials of the system look more or less as they were imagined more than 45 years ago. This manual, with all its exhaustive detail and maniacal comprehensiveness, is the reason."-Michael Bierut Pentagram, New York City. - Officially licensed by the MTA.


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