Category: Diagrams

Maze and labyrinth

WAYFINDING PUZZLES.

Classic hedge maze The Longleat Maze in Wiltshire (England) has viewing bridges that give people an overview before they return to the pathways between tall hedges. Photograph by Niki Odolphie.

Definitions A maze has multiple entrances and exits, choices of direction, and dead-ends. A labyrinth has only one way in and one way out.

Garden labyrinth Below, the Edinburgh Labyrinth (Scotland) in George Square Gardens. Photograph by Di Williams.

World’s largest The Guinness Book of Records lists The Maze of Butterfly Lovers in Ningbo, China, as the largest permanent hedge maze, with a total path length of 8.38 km (5.2 miles). It opened in April this year. Designed by Adrian Fisher, it contains the shapes of two butterflies. Adrian has designed hundreds of mazes and puzzles (in various formats) all over the world. Image from Google Maps.


Labyrinth project
As a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the London Underground in 2013, Mark Wallinger created a unique enamel labyrinth for every one of the 270 stations. They’re a connection to the system’s history of classic graphic design, and reflect the idea of entering the labyrinth of walkways and tunnels that make up a journey.


Photograph by Jack Gordon.

All of them are photographed here: http://labyrinthtubephoto.tumblr.com

Optometric

EYES AND INFOGRAPHICS.

Teaching aid A 1965 model from Michael Stoll’s collection. Made by Somso Models of Sonneberg, Germany. http://www.somso.de/en/somso/

Eye test The Snellen chart (which originated in 1862) is the most common.

Poster Of course, there are plenty of detailed eye diagrams around. If you want one for the wall: goo.gl/6SjuZz

Phoropter Great-looking instrument for precise optical measurements. I don’t care what it does, I just like the dials.


Photograph by Christian Weibull.

Color vision The Ishihara test can detect red-green vision deficiencies. This is one of the 38 test plates.

Vintage Illustrations from historical medical books.

Above, from Die Frau als Hausärztin, 1911. Below, from Meyers Konversations-Lexicon, 1897. (Hein Nouwens/shutterstock.com)

Eye color There are endless variations. Brown is the most common color, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.


Photograph © Taiga/123rf

A chart of doll eyes.

Signage This kind of design was very common years ago.

Giant eye Tony Tasset created a 30-foot (9-meter) diameter fiberglass eyeball (modeled on his own eye) in 2007. It’s a well-traveled item. First on display in Chicago’s Pritzer Park, then on the roadside in Sparta, Wisconsin (where it was originally constructed), and now in the Joule Hotel’s sculpture garden in Dallas.


Photograph by Carol M.Highsmith.

Taken apart

DECONSTRUCTING TO EXPLAIN.

Reality Photographed superbly by Adam Voorhes. http://www.voorhes.com

Illustrated instructions Assembly guides and parts diagrams are part of our everyday life. A note of caution: When this kind of thing is not done well, it can cause a nervous breakdown.

In pieces Walking around an exploded view is an experience. This VW Beetle installation, “Cosmic Thing,” is by Damion Ortega.

Blown-up Another gallery piece, “Cold Dark Matter” by Cornelius Parker. A garden shed and it’s contents was exploded (by the British Army), then the pieces were arranged and brightly lit from the inside. A frozen moment in time.

Motion A commercial for Lowe’s where the whole house comes apart. Click on the image to see the video. (It might take a little while to load.)

Cutaway And don’t forget this excellent book (from Gestalten) which has several exploded views. I featured it before: http://www.johngrimwade.com/blog/2016/11/17/cutaway-magic/

On Amazon: goo.gl/837SjK


Illustration by Nick Kaloterakis.

Subways (2)

USING THE SUBWAY MAP METAPHOR.

Map of the stars By Simon Patterson. Famous, or important, people are the stops. The lines are the categories, from engineers to comedians, and where they intersect, interesting associations occur. The title is a reference to astronomy. Patterson’s description: “…the tube stops can be seen as stars in a constellation, where you imagine the lines that connect the dots.” Detail below.

Web trends By Information Architects. https://ia.net

Detail.

Movie map The lines are genres. By David Honnorat.

Detail.

Submarine fiber-optic network Explained by the Oxford Internet Institute.

US highways Cameron Booth gives the U.S. road system the Harry Beck treatment.

Detail.

US rivers A waterway diagram by Theo Rindos.

Roman Roads Traveling around the Roman Empire, by Sasha Trubetskoy.

Looking for animals Find your favorite creatures in various subway maps.

https://www.animalsontheunderground.com

Subways (1)

MAPPING METRO SYSTEMS.


New York City Subway Map, 1972 by Massimo Vignelli.

This week’s posts follow on from a recent one about Harry Beck’s seminal Underground map: goo.gl/Fpn3Qk

New York design classics The Graphics Standards Manual (1970) designed by Massimo Vignelli and Bob Noorda set the design parameters for modern New York subway signage. A reprinted version, originally funded by a Kickstarter campaign, is available here: https://standardsmanual.com/pages/shop (along with a few other gems).

Two years later, the schematic map (shown at the top of this post) was introduced, and there was a lot of criticism. For London’s map, Harry Beck had chosen diagrammatic clarity over geographical accuracy, but a similar approach by Vignelli did not go down well with some of the inhabitants of NYC. After substantial changes (not overseen by its creator), the design was dropped in 1979. However, in 2012, the Metropolitan Transit Authority asked Vignelli to design a similar version for its Weekender app.

NYC today More geographically-correct, less of a design system. I don’t love it, but I understand why it’s the way it is.

Tokyo

The Tokyo trains can get very crowded. However, there are people who’s job is to push everyone in. Click on the image below to see the video.

Paris

Moscow

Circular Max Roberts has redesigned several subway maps using a circular arrangement. Here are New York, London and Paris.

See more maps by Max Roberts here: http://www.tubemapcentral.com

Map or diagram? This animation of the Berlin subway first appeared on Reddit, and inspired others to make geographical comparisons with the diagrams of various cities. Some examples below.


By vinnivinnivinni.


By playhouse_animation.


By ninja.


By hlake.


By sweedfishoreo.

Subway world A subway-style map of cities with urban transit systems.

Humanscale

DESIGNING FOR PEOPLE.*

Ergonomics “Humanscale” is a collection of three books and nine selectors with dials. They contain the detailed human measurements that designers need to create workspaces, furniture and products that are ergonomically sound. It was originally published in 1974 by Henry Dreyfuss Associates, and expanded the metrics of the original book, “The Measure of Man” (see “Origins” below). And now it’s being republished by IA Collaborative after a Kickstarter campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/iacollaborative/reissue-of-humanscale

Inside the 1/2/3 booklet.

Some examples of possible applications.

Selector details.

Origins Henry Dreyfuss set the standard for visual ergonomic explanation with his book “The Measure of Man: Human Factors in Design” published in 1959. It contains 32 charts and two life-size posters (shown as one image below) designed by Dreyfuss and illustrated by Alvin Tilley. The two figures (nicknamed “Joe” and “Josephine”) represent the average American man and woman.

Below, the first edition cover.

The book was updated in 1993, and the title made more inclusive.

*The title of a 1955 Dreyfuss book.

Today

HISTORICAL EXAMPLES FROM ERIC BAKER’S COLUMN.

Once a week for several years (ending in 2010), Eric Baker had an inspiring column called “Today” that appeared on the DesignObserver site. It was a set of carefully selected historical design images. Sometimes on a theme, sometimes not. Anyway, I really looked forward to seeing the latest treasure trove of imagery. So in the spirit of looking back for inspiration to our illustrious past, here’s a selection of 50 examples from those posts. Many of these are infographically-inclined, but that (of course) is because of the person selecting them.

Underground

MAPPING THE “TUBE.”

Harry Beck really started something. His elegant map of the London Underground (which is more of a diagram than a map) set the style of the modern subway guide. It’s designed to help people use the network. To show them clearly how to get from A to B, and make the correct connections. Beck aimed to strike a balance between a clear system diagram and the geography. This involved making some compromises with the distances between stations and their relative positions, and enlarging the center area where so many lines intersect. The first map printed in a large quantity (1933) is shown above. It was produced first as a folding, pocket-size map (shown here), and soon followed by a poster-size version. The design allowed for future expansion of the network.

The 1932 map (below) that preceded Beck’s was by F. H. Stingemore who designed the map from 1925 to 1932. The central area in the Stingemore map was slightly exaggerated and the outer stations were listed at the edges of the map. Beck’s redesign was a radical departure.

A rough drawing from 1931 shows Beck’s initial plan for his more diagrammatic map. He was an engineering draughtsman, not a graphic designer, so he looked at the project like an electrical circuit diagram.

A presentation version (1931) was rejected at first, but the following year was the basis for a test run of 500 copies. At this point, Beck was still using circles for most of the stations. He switched to tick marks in the 1933 version.

The current map is a lot more complicated with fare zones and additional subway lines.

The distortion from actual relationships to the diagrammatic map is shown in this animation. By Pham_Trinli.

In 2015, Transport for London released a more geographically-correct map that could be a real help for walkers, bikers etc. It was forced into the public area by a Freedom of Information request. Click on the image for a pdf version.

Earlier this month, Transport for London published a map for people who don’t like to be inside a tunnel, showing where the trains are actually underground. Despite the name of the system, 55% of it is above ground. Click on the image for a pdf version.

Flap books

INFORMATION PRESENTED IN LAYERS.

The Human Head, by Dr. Ergo, 1913. All the examples in this post are from Professor Michael Stoll’s superb collection of historical information graphics, which I’ve featured a number of times before.

Below, the Practical Engineer, by Gustav Ripke, 1905.

Steam and Electricity Technology at the Beginning of the 20th Century, 1903, contains a steam engine diagram with moving paper parts.

New Natural Treatments for Animals, by Dr. Knoll, 1923.

Botany for Everyone, by Ferruccio Rizzatti, 1923.

The KDF-Wagen, 1939. A clever look inside the first Volkswagen Beetle using clear plastic sheets with opaque elements. We’re looking up from under the car on the left-hand page, and from above it on the right-hand page. It was published as a supplement for an issue of a magazine, “Motor Schau”.

Previously featured gems from Michael Stoll’s collection:
http://www.johngrimwade.com/blog/2017/03/09/flight-visualized/
http://www.johngrimwade.com/blog/2016/11/28/bayers-masterpiece/
http://www.johngrimwade.com/blog/2016/10/06/atlas-heaven/

Instructional

GREG MAXSON’S EXPLANATORY GRAPHICS.When I was the consulting graphics director for Popular Science back in the 1990s, I commissioned Greg to produce many diagrams. Like me, he began in the world of analog graphics, working with technical draughtsman tools, and by the 90s was, of course, working on the computer. Here are some examples of his precise, clear style. These instructional graphics help us with our day-to-day life, and deserve as much respect as the mega-graphics that frequently sweep up the prizes. See more of Greg’s work here: https://gregmaxson.com

An example below of one of Greg’s pre-computer graphics. This style was perfect for the transition to computer-based illustration.


The examples below are all digital.

Greg has drawn hundreds of buildings for VanDam’s excellent series of maps. Some examples:

Stephan Van Dam was approached by the National Gallery of Art to create a map (for the 75th anniversary of the museum), and to build a miniature version of the East Wing as a display case. Stephan and his team collaborated with Greg on the project.

The SketchUp model, and a Shaderlight rendering for the map.

The team studied the East Wing, and determined the best way to reflect the architecture in a lucite case that would hold the maps. Using SketchUp, Greg created a 3D model of the shell. Then the dividers and pockets were designed.

Making the complex case, with it’s sharp 18-degree corners was a real challenge. Stephan wasn’t able to find a model manufacturer in the U.S., but eventually a Shanghai-based shop agreed to construct it.

See the range of VanDam maps, and buy them, here: http://www.vandam.com

(All map, building & display images ©VanDamMedia. All rights reserved.)