Alternative Tube Maps For Sale

Nobody, we suspect, has devoted more hours to scrutinising the Tube map than Max Roberts. Over the years, he’s made a science out of transport mapping. Now, some of his favourite creations are available as print-on-demand posters.

The curvy Tube map, the circles Tube map and a design based on the stylings of Charles Rennie Mackintosh are three of the more popular (and all shown above), available from £30 in A2, A1 or A0 format. But you can order anything from Max’s substantial body of work for the same price.

Those with a strong interest in the Underground map should also get hold of Max’s book Underground Maps Unravelled. This beautifully presented tome introduces dozens of alternatives to the classic Harry Beck Tube map.

For example, the author ditches the 45° requirement and builds maps with lines branching off at steeper or shallower angles. He dispenses with angles altogether in visualisations like the curvy map. In a particular favourite of ours, he splits each Tube line into its individual routes, showing for example the District Line as a band of parallel routes to Ealing Broadway, Richmond, Wimbledon, etc.

Not all of these have advantages over the traditional map, but each offers lessons in the principles of good information design. The book is selling for £45, but justifiably so given the sheer amount of work that’s gone into it. It’s worth every penny if you have a deep fascination for the Tube.

See also: A guide to alternative London Tube maps

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