One of the most famous communication tools of the last century may be on its way out. Not because it has been overtaken by anything better but because progress has made it too small to hold all the information officials say it requires.
The London tube map was created in 1931 by Harry Beck, a London Underground draughtsman. It turned a clumsy geographic map into a circuit diagram and quickly become an instantly recognised symbol not just for the underground trains but for London itself and, for many visitors, the frisson of a visit to one of the world’s great cities (Circle Line pub crawl, anyone!). Nearly 70 years on, it is still as relevant and vital as the day Beck drew it.
With a design that millions of people stare at every day but that few might stop to think about, the simplicity and beauty of the map has made it a pin-up star for all technical communicators!
Click here for a look at a pictorial history of the London Underground map.