More than 40 years after the release of the famous Standards Manual for the New York Underground, Jesse Reed and Hamish Smith found a rare copy in the basement of design firm Pentagram. They decided to reprint it and make it available for purchase on Kickstarter.
The NYC Transit Authority Graphics Standards Manual was originally designed by Massimo Vignelli and Bob Noorda at design agency Unimark International commissioned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York (MTA). The work, that was brought out in 1970, was an attempt to solve the traffic problem underground in the late 1960s.
The manual succeeded in that goal and, perhaps unintentionally, the Standards Manual became one of the world’s classic examples of modern design. The combination of forms, colors and the Helvetica font pinpointed a strong and very recognizable brand for the New York Underground and set a certain standard for way-finding design in the rest of the world.
The publication of the Standards Manual in 1970 also marked a shift in thinking about urban transportation. For the first time in the car-oriented history of the United States serious effort was taken to use the potential of public transport.
Now, the MTA has agreed upon reissueing the Standards Manual. In this process every page of the book will be scanned and printed, which will result in a beautiful full-size hardcover book that will only be available for purchase during the 30-day Kickstarter campaign and never again. So hurry up!