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Paris Metro Style: In Map and Station Design Hardcover – 17 Nov 2008

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Capital Transport Publishing (17 Nov. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1854143220
  • ISBN-13: 978-1854143228
  • Product Dimensions: 24.3 x 2.7 x 24.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 608,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Mark was born and brought up in London, England and as a kid he was always interested in the media and in trains. He built miniature TV studios out of Lego & sticky backed plastic. He set up a closed circuit radio station which got piped through to other parts of the family home. He collected old maps of trains and often went out exploring closed-down rail lines. Aged 14-16 Mark presented a weekly show on the local hospital radio station, collected records and attempted to DJ at local events. A genuine 'geek' in the making!

Following early interests, Mark's school project was on the London Underground in which he painted a revision of the classic Beck inspired Tube diagram. Marks version kept the diagrammatic style but retained the geographic position of the lines: the resulting mess convinced him why Beck was right to expand the central area but helped gain Mark a place at Art College in Southampton. It was there he conceived of an idea to start a 'what's on' listings magazine for the area. 'Due South' published from November 1982 but Mark stepped down after just a couple of years as Editor to persue more pressing political interests. He become an activist during the 1984/5 Miners Strike. This spurred his journalistic interests and he began working for a local radio station as a trainee reporter. After a few years he was reading the news not making it.

Given his ongoing interest in politics and a desire to move to a livelier city, he took a job with the progressive Manchester City Council as an Equality Officer in 1990, delivering training on tackling homophobia in the workplace. Meanwhile Mark developed ideas with a colleague for a national radio show and scored a huge coup by getting BBC Radio 1 to commission their first ever series aimed at young lesbians and gay men: 'loud'n'proud' in 1993. Mark became freelance journalist and newsreader for Manchester's Kiss102 from 1994.

He took four months out in London to work on BBC2's first series for lesbians and gays, 'Gaytime TV' and back at Kiss102, Mark fronted the daily entertainment show 'The Word' , became newsreader 'Peter Parker' for London's Kiss100 breakfast show and was promoted to Programme Manager until 1997 when he became full time producer at BBC Radio 1 on the Annie Nightingale show. In mid 1998 he joined MTV as a freelance music programmer then became a producer and presenter at Atlantic252.

In early 2000, Mark moved to Ministry Of Sound, helping set up their DAB Digital Radio station, and as Head of Radio at MoS, Mark applied for and won the licence to run a one month long FM version of the station.

Mark moved into consultancy after this and in 2002 he joined a fledgling TV channel as Channel Manager but by this stage had already become consumed by the idea of compiling a book that contained the official map of every urban transit system in the world. "Metro Maps of The World" was published in November 2003 and sold out its first run in a matter of weeks. In September 2005 Mark moved to France to focus on his next book about the Paris Metro. Meantime his original publication was picked up by a Dutch Publisher ('Metrokaarten van der wereld" 2006) and also by Penguin in the USA. The American version, "Transit Maps of The World" was published October 2007. Media coverage was phenomenal and led to unexpectedly high sales, and a Top 100 ranking in the Amazon Sales Charts where it is still often the number one best-selling book in it's category (Mass Transit)! Mark is hugely proud that his work has become the best-selling book about transport design.

His comprehensive work on the design of the French capital's transit system was published in October 2008 as "Paris Metro Style in map and station design". Penguin US commissioned an American version of it so Mark re-worked the concept, updated the content and it was published on October 24 2009 by Penguin as "Paris Underground, The Maps, Stations, and Design of the Metro".

Mark's next book, a follow-up to the popular transit maps offering, was 'Railway Maps of the World' and was first published by Viking Adult in May 2011 for the US market. It launched later that year in the UK as "Great Railway Maps of the World". He relocated to London to research his next project commemorating 150 years of Underground design. The new book: "London Underground by Design" will be published by Penguin in January 2013 for the Tube's anniversary.

He is also working on other follow-up books in the design field.

Mark now resides in his hometown of London where he also works as a freelance music programmer for All Around The World TV, writes comedy, gives lectures on transport design and is a freelance journalist/broadcaster.

Product Description


"...[Ovenden's]... brought out this fabulous book, it really is. It's very in-depth if you like trains, it's lovely actually, it really is a beautiful book. Its worth buying just for my quote on the back cover"
-- Steve Allen Show, LBC 97.3 FM, Sunday 16 November 2008

From the Author

"The maps and architecture of the London Underground, and to a lesser extent, the Moscow Metro or the New York Subway, are relatively well-known to graphic designers, but though there are many books on the Paris Metro I was surprised to find no single work dedicated to the story of its graphic evolution.

So despite a dreadfully poor level of French, I moved to Paris to begin research on the city's well known and much loved urban icon.

From the bits and pieces that existed elsewhere, mainly in French of course, plus hours of research in archives and private collections, I accumulated a mountain of fascinating material.

The results included so many different maps that I concluded Paris has had a more varied cartographic representation than any other urban transit system. With about a dozen different logos and with at least six attempts at revamping the signage, it has quite possibly also had the most varied graphic design history of an urban rail system too!

So, inspired by the colour scheme and typography of the RATP's current graphic standards, I have attempted to assemble all this in some sort of logical order which will hopefully be as much use to the student of graphic design as to the casual tourist or transport enthusiast.

Though Paris is one of the most photographed cities on earth, I hope that its captivating history, the beautiful and varied maps and the plethora of photographs will inspire those who know the city well as much as the new visitor".

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Chris Paris on 10 Nov. 2008
Format: Hardcover
Who would have thought the Paris Metro was so fascinating? This book appears to be the first in depth study on the look and feel of the French capital's transit system from a design angle. In mind blowing detail, but with an accessible style to the lay reader, it focuses on the architecture of the iconic `Art Nouveau' Paris Metro entrances, the development of typography on station signage, the evolution of the many logos, plus the surprisingly rich cartographic diversity of Paris Metro maps.

As someone who knows Paris well, I would not normally put my hand up to say I was overly interested in any one of these subjects, but this book somehow brings them all to life in an unprecedented reflection of what amounts to industrial urban graphic design history. It seems to offer a whole new way of looking at one of the world's most photographed cities.

It's not hard to see why the publishers claim it features over a thousand images; while some pages are crammed with photos and maps I can't claim to have noticed in any museum (and I've visited a lot of them), other pages are resplendent with single large images covering an entire spread.

It feels like you are time-travelling from the 1850s - when Paris was clogged with horse-drawn carriages and proposals were rife for all kinds of fanciful concepts to alleviate the congestion. Arguments and politics meant London pulled ahead of Paris, opening its first underground in 1863. Using old maps not seen since the 19th Century, the story of failures and counter plans for a rapid transport system fill the first Chapter. The final years before the Metro's construction and its eventual opening just in time for the Great Exposition of 1900 occupy the 2nd Chapter.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Shreds on 18 Jan. 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book and the reviews promise so much on a fascinating subject, but the tiny diagrams and muddled text that mixes incongrously with the captions, really do let this book down. The layout of the text makes the book difficult to read.

Much more detail on the glorious architecture and as the title says 'design' of the stations is required rather than four full pages laid out with map covers from 2001-2008. No doubt these were readily available at the time of writing but detract from what might have been a great book. Feels like the need to pad the book out, by nipping down and raiding the leaflet racks at the local Metro was the concept when the author ran out of core material.

What would have made this book great would have been a greater architectural appreciation and consideration of the style and design of the stations and the system generally.

Regretably it is not a book I would recommend to anyone, transport, cartographic, architectiure student or otherwise.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Old Nick on 2 Mar. 2009
Format: Hardcover
...but it's such a shame that with all the evident care and expense devoted to creating this magnum opus, that nothing was left for a proof-reader. As every bit of praise lavished on this book is well deserved, it feels all that much more galling to be bombarded with errors on every page. On many occasions 'east' is interchanged with 'west', and other easily caught typos crop up frequently.

So enjoy this book, but read it with care. Perhaps a second edition can address this flaw.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By B. Cook on 7 Aug. 2009
Format: Hardcover
For anyone interested in Paris, the Paris Metro or urban/graphic design, this book is wonderful. It explores all facets of the Metro, from the struggle to get it built right down to the careful selection of reflective, beveled white tile in the underground stations. Since I couldn't find a US shop that carried the book, it was well worth ordering from the UK.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TravellingLeon on 7 Dec. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not an in depth book about the finesses of Paris metro design. It does give you a wonderful view of the style features of the Paris metro and how they came about. It describes its history and lards it with historic pictures. A lot of pictures show entrances and buildings of the paris metro in the famous art-nouveau style. A lot of these features are now gone. One of the wonderful things about the Paris metro is, that there's not 1 uniform style. This book shows them all. Not all cards depicted in the book are easy to read, but it's wonderful to see how they looked in the 50's and earlier on. In short: if you have ever been in Paris and have seen the wonderful interior of the metro and want to know more about it, this is your book. I found it a great buy and really enjoyed reading it.
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