As 2019 draws to end, I wanted to release one more podcast episode, and this week, you get to spend a half an hour with me and Kickmap creator Eddie Jabbour as we talk about subway map design. Jabbour’s appearance on the show grew out of an interactive feature on the current NYC subway map The Times published in early December. Ostensibly timed with the 40th anniversary of the map designed by Michael Hertz and Associates that replaced the controversial Vignelli diagram, the Times feature dove into some of the design quirks of the map. But it held back on both the praises that have made the Hertz map a four-decade success story and criticisms that have followed over the decades. That’s where the podcast comes in.
Jabbour’s Kickmap has been around for the better part of two decades, and it began as a passion project. Jabbour, a brand designer who runs Kick Design in his professional life, is a Bay Ridge native and lifelong lover of trains. He combined his eye for design with his love for subways and built the Kickmap as a reimagined map for New York City. The advent of iPhones allowed him to convert it into a digital dynamic map more flexible than the current MTA offerings (and some might say, more visually appealing as well). In this podcast episode, we talk all things maps, both good and bad, and delve into Jabbour’s dream for an international design standard for subway maps.
Now, don’t get me wrong — the episode isn’t only just criticism of the current MTA map. After all, the Hertz map and its current progeny have served as the longest-running subway map in NYC transit history so it must be doing something right. But Jabbour has plenty to say about about subway wayfinding and the way design could be better. Join us for a wide-ranging conversation on the elements of subway map design, what the MTA’s current map gets right and what it gets wrong, and which international city is the Holy Grail for designers looking to create great subway maps. (Hint: It’s in Japan.)
You can find my conversation with Jabbour at all the popular podcast spots — iTunes, Google Play, Spotify or Pocket Casts, to name a few. Or you can listen by clicking the “play” button below. If you like what you hear and have been enjoying the podcasts, please consider leaving a review on your iTunes.
As always, thank you for listening and thank you as well to Joe Jakubowski for sound engineering. I’ve been enjoying producing these podcasts but they take a lot of time and effort. I can keep doing them only through the generous contributions of my listeners so please consider joining the Second Ave. Sagas Patreon. Since this site runs entirely on Patreon contributions, your help keeps the proverbial engine going. And be sure to check out the Kickmap both at its own website or in a digital App Store near you.