If you’ve seen the documentary Helvetica, you’re familiar with the high-concept fontscape of New York City’s subway system. If you’ve seen the documentary Helvetica more than once, you’re a stronger person than most. Two such fontophiles have started a Kickstarter campaign to create a full-size (“huge”) reissue of the New York City Transit Authority’s Graphics Standards Manual, originally created in 1970, and at the rate it’s going, it may actually happen.
The two men behind the Kickstarter campaign, Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth, both designers at Pentagram, worked with Niko Skourtis to put every page of the manual online, which looks like a deconstructed blueprint for every piece of subway signage I have ever seen in New York. And actually that’s pretty much exactly what it is, but in the opposite order. The plans for sign placement are especially cool, since they reflect the design of most stations even to this day.
But even if the campaign succeeds, don’t expect to see the NYCTA Graphics Standards Manual at the MoMA Design Store; the MTA agreed to reissue the manual on the condition that it be available only through this 30-day campaign, and never again. With an expected delivery date of January 2015, you’ll miss Christmas even if you manage to snag one (as of this writing, a few hundred slots are still available at the $118 price point), but I’m sure you’d be forgiven—this thing looks epic.
Follow John Sherman on Twitter @_john_sherman.