5 Points to a Decent Public Transport Map

Guest post by Adrienne Elks
Ever found yourself in a foreign city struggling to understand their public transport map, or ended up somewhere you shouldn’t because it was so confusing? Perhaps you’ve wondered why some maps are so much more user-friendly than others? The classic London Underground Map, for example, has been refined over the course of over a hundred years and is widely considered to be one of the best pieces of design of the twentieth century.
Designed by Harry Beck and first published in 1933, the map was based on an electrical circuit diagram. The colours are bold and punchy; the lines uniform and angular. The map was revolutionary at its time, and was at first rejected by the Underground when Beck submitted it in 1931 for this reason.
The map was refined over time, and then completely removed from circulation for 30 years when Beck had a falling out with the authorities. It was, however, reinstated in 1990 and iterations of it continue to be used today.
So what are the key features of the London Underground map that makes it so appealing and easy to understand, and how can Public Transport Victoria (PTV) learn from its motherland?

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Image: London Underground map
Source: www.bbc.co.uk

1. The lines run at only right angles, parallel or at 45 degrees to one another

This is probably the biggest contributing factor in making the map easy to read, as the brain is not distracted by lots of lines running in different directions. The Japan Bullet Train map shown below is a case in point.

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Image: Japan Bullet Train map
Source: Mappery

2. Make the text legible.

Whether it’s reading it on their smart phone or carrying it in their pocket, the majority of people need to be able to read the text on their transit map. The above map is a perfect example of how to make a map illegible – particularly the station names written in yellow and grey. Stick to black, and there’s less chance of angry passengers ending up at the wrong destination.


3. It’s not too crowded.

The London Underground consists of 11 different lines, and yet there is enough white space around the lines to make it readable – even the pocket-sized version! In contrast, the Tokyo Subway is made up of only two more lines (13 in total) and yet it is far more difficult to read because there is barely any white space.

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Image: Tokyo Subway map
Source: Mappery

4. Keep the palette simple.

Another reason why the Tokyo Subway map hurts the eyes is because it’s so bright. The London Underground map, on the other hand, primarily uses variations on the primary colours – red, yellow and blue. Again, this contributes to the overall readability of the map.

 

5. Don’t outline the lines.

Lines do not need outlining. It’s completely unnecessary and just makes the map look messy. This map of the Zahgreb tram network would be far easier to read if they did away with the black outline around each coloured line. (The colour palette could also be worked on for added further clarity).

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Image: Zahgreb Tram network map
Source: Mappery
All images courtesy Mappery (unless otherwise indicated) http://www.mappery.com/tags.php?tag=transit&nearestto=16181
 

How does Melbourne’s Metro Train Network map compare?

In comparison to the other maps shown, the Melbourne train network map doesn’t distinguish between the various lines, but rather only shows where they change from Zone 1 to Zone 2. The usability of the map could be vastly improved simply by using a different colour for each of the different train lines. It would avoid, for example, such catastrophic situations as Sandringham passengers accidentally jumping on the Frankston line. Zones could then be shown in grey and white bands, as they are in the London Underground map.
On the other hand, the little green squares and orange triangles indicate an interchange where stations are serviced by buses and/or trams respectively. This is useful feature that should stay in any future maps issued by PTV.

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Image: Melbourne Train Network
Source: PTV
Stay tuned for a critique of the new Melbourne Metro Train map, which is expected to be released very soon!

Moving from New Zealand to Melbourne

Today’s post is just a bit of fun.  It’s the collective experiences of a bunch of kiwis over the last two years after making the shift to Melbourne following the Christchurch earthquakes.  The things we noticed and weren’t all expecting.  Living in Melbourne is amazing and if you know any New Zealanders thinking of making the move to Melbourne, the following is a quick and easy guide to avoid a few hurdles!

 

New Zealand to Melbourne

 

Vectors sourced from freepik.com
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5 Under-recognised Powers of Graphic Design

The most under-recognised powers of graphic design, what are they?
We’re all aware that looking great is beneficial to gaining and keeping business but how is graphic design really powerful?

The owner of Creative Projects, Emma Penrose weighs in with her thoughts.

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1. Being Unique

It doesn’t sound like an under-recognised point but hear me out.  Creativity is an ability of unique expression.  Graphic design is creativity at it’s finest, yet it’s becoming looked upon as a tick box, one to cover as quickly and cheaply as possible (i.e. design ripoffs, free templates).  If it’s about being quick, cheap and overlooking originality, you forfeit your chance to express your ideas in the most unique way possible.  You should always embrace the opportunity to design yourself out of the crowd and be unique, as it’s one of graphic design’s greatest powers.

2. Mental Ownership

Like a dog marks its territory, you market your territory.  Your designs are custom representations of your vision and you know your marketing material is yours.  Custom designs connect back to a sense of ownership over your brand.  Graphic design intertwines itself with your business, your vision, your life, mentally it’s powerful in bringing you closer together with your business and it’s direction.

3. Controlling your first impression

Again obvious but frequently under-recognised.  Your staff, service and mood are all things open to factors of circumstance but graphic design is one thing that can remain constant.  Graphic design is an element you can constantly control when it comes to your first impression.  Graphic design’s power is that it’s seldom affected by circumstance, you can rely on it to communicate you effectively, as you’d like to be seen.

4. Distribution by beauty

Have you ever had designs created purely to be beautiful without blatant self promotion?  I personally think every business should indulge in design to aesthetically please their potential client base which leaves their business a footnote.  Make designs people want to keep and collect.  Invest in design which people pick up, display and spread because it’s beautiful to them.  Embracing design for it’s beauty is powerful.

5. Time Saving

Work smart, not hard.  Repeating yourself, that can be hard work.  By handing over a sheet of paper or a web address, you can save yourself having to repeat information.  If you communicate effectively, you save time.  Graphic design is just another form of communication.  Visual communication is a powerful time saver.

 

Written by Emma Penrose, Owner of Creative Projects.

FREE AFL Facebook Covers:
Hawthorn vs Fremantle

This post is dedicated to tomorrow’s match, Hawthorn vs Fremantle.  We designed these free Facebook cover photos as a creative way to show your team colours, help yourself to a cover photo below to support your team.
If you’re a keen footy fan in Melbourne or Perth get your colours on!

AFL-hawthorn-support-facebook-cover-photo

 

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PLUS BONUS PROFILE PHOTOS:
 
AFL Fremantle Graphic Design
 These designs are free to use under a Creative Commons license.
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What do your AFL team colours say about you?

Colour psychology is an important everyday factor in graphic design.  For a bit of fun, we’ve taken that knowledge and applied a popular Melbourne spin on it, AFL.  Find your team below and learn about your AFL colour psychology.

 

afl-colour-psychology-melbourne-FINAL 

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Why do I need a Vector of my logo?

Why do I need a Vector of my Logo? What is a Vector?
A common request from us will be that we are provided with a Vector of your logo when we are working with your brand.  You can learn more about what a Vector is here.  It’s essential that we have one but the reason behind why is often a mystery for most.  You have a JPG or PNG file of your logo that looks just fine, it’s nice and clear, why do we need anything more?
Well it’s all about scaling, if we ever go to scale your logo up, 9/10 it’ll end up a pixelated mess and that reflects on your brand and business.  Vector logos aren’t made of pixels, they’re basically just made up of colours assigned to areas.  They can be blown up to the size of billboards or could cover the whole side of your building without distortion or pixelation.
So look professional, always have a Vector of your logo on hand (an .ai or .eps file).  We make sure to provide them with every logo design we produce as they’re essential to reflecting the value of your business.

why-do-I-need-a-vector-of-my-logo

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What is Printing Bleed?

Bleed, how much bleed does it need… what is printing bleed?!
If you ever request print design like a business card or flyer, then chances are that you’ll be asked to include bleed or your designer may ask you how much bleed your printer wants.  
Why is bleed important?
When you get a design printed you want it printed right to the edge, not with a border of white.  How this is done, is by allowing a little extra all around the edge (3-5mm is standard) and trimming it off later.  That little extra is called bleed.
The below image explains bleed.
Image: Valentines Day Flyer 2014 for Feddish Restaurant, Federation Square, Melbourne, Australia 

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