Designer gives London Tube map a makeover

British designer Mark Noad has unveiled his version of the iconic London Underground map.

He has redesigned Harry Beck’s version, created in 1931 which is still used today as the official Tube map.

This new design shows the routes and distances between stations in a more ‘geographically accurate’ way.

Although the map has not been endorsed by TfL, it is receiving positive feedback from commuters and tourists who have spotted it online.

Mark wrote on his blog last week:

“Harry Beck’s original Underground map was a brilliant piece of information design but it has not been looked after.

“I doubt if Beck would want to put his name to the current version. If he were to start from scratch today, would he have used the same approach?

“There are twice as many lines, with London Overground and the DLR moving the emphasis away from the Circle line loop. Also, the map will increasingly be viewed on screen so we are not constrained by the limitations of the printed page.

“And this is not intended as a replacement to the official version, it is simply another way to look at it. We all think differently so you can decide which fits best with your way of thinking. For the first time there is a usable alternative.”

Mark is now planning to take the new map viral by launching a new app for smart phones and developing a fully functional website.

What do you think of the map?

5 COMMENTS

  1. Oh dear,

    I fear the whole point of making a straight line network diagram has been misunderstood. The concept is that one should be able to follow the sequence of the stations, along each line, effortlessly and without one’s eye taking a wrong turn.

    If one was mapping the Victoria Line on its own, for example, this would be a simple task. A single route with trains calling at all stations: draw a straight line, with no kinks, space all the stations equally, all along one side of the line – job done.

    A network map is of course much harder.

    Mark’s map is unruly on the eye and defeats the very purpose of doing it, for the reasons (and many others too detailed to go into here) stated above. I agree though about the present official offering, which fails for the same, and other, reasons. Substituting one over-kinked design for another is not the way forward. Much better designs have been produced, tested, and scientifically proven to work better.

    Fundamentally the present map is to the wrong proportions and so too is Mark’s. There is far too much to say than space allows here.

    More soon at: http://www.dougrose.co.uk

  2. It has some good points and I generally like it, however the main problem is it is hard to work out what is going on with the London overground network as although it is a series of routes it is all one colour (although the TfL map has the same problem).  Maybe a two colour dash with the orange being the consistent colour would help with routing on the overground network.

  3. I like it, but then I always like realistic maps.  This one gives a better sense of the distance and hence likely travel time than the current TfL official version.

    A minor point – could the Heathrow Express be shown as passing through Ealing Broadway rather than some indeterminate point South?  I know it doesn’t stop there, but it does pass through!

  4. Ingenious and there may be some potential applications.  TfL’s designers have struggled to superimpose the London Rail network on the Beck-Garbutt and beyond diagram, to include Overground, effectively an East London Line extension and the DLR.
    But not (Croydon but now London) tramlink.  Get it printed in one of the Trade magazines so we have more time to study it.

    Richard H Pout B.Sc. Econ. MILT

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