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Helvetica and the New York City Subway System: The True (Maybe) Story Hardcover – 18 Feb 2011

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: MIT Press; 1 edition (18 Feb. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 026201548X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262015486
  • Product Dimensions: 27.9 x 1.9 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 498,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"Paul Shaw's detailed narrative of the evolution of signage in the New York City subway system over the past half-century reveals how the many decisions underlying its appearance have been shaped as much by political, economic, and bureaucratic forces as by design considerations. His beautifully illustrated book brings a unique perspective to the subject, and is a welcome addition to the vast literature on New York City."--Kenneth T. Jackson, Editor-in-Chief, The Encyclopedia of New York City; President Emeritus, The New-York Historical Society

"For transit and type nerds alike, Paul's book is the Bible. It finally tells the true story of the New York subway sign system and shows how even big projects like it are shaped by people and their likes and dislikes; by accidents, prejudice, and half-knowledge. This is a history book, a type book, a design book, and a business book."--Erik Spiekermann, creative director and managing partner, Edenspiekermann

"Paul Shaw's story of the New York subway sign system is an amazing piece of research. While Helvetica vs. Standard is the book's main focus, the most intriguing part of the story has to with the decisions and personalities involved. Shaw wonderfully captures the complexity of the undertaking, and shows how the persistence of a few people dedicated to expanding and improving the system over many years had a great impact."--Tom Geismar, founding partner, Chermayeff & Geismar

"Paul Shaw's study of the signage in the New York subway system is one of the best pieces of design history I've ever read. Impeccably researched and gracefully written, it uses a seemingly prosaic subject as a starting point for a fascinating exploration of the way that graphic design developed as a discipline in the 20th century."--Michael Bierut, partner, Pentagram

"A concise history of the New York subway, a visual archive of century's worth of underground signs (some of which are still in use), and an impressive study of the conflict between the purity of design and the messiness of the real world." -- "The Wilson Quarterly"

"Mr. Shaw makes clear in one of the best-researched books on modern design to date, this most New York of places is today a realm dominated by a Swiss typeface specified by a pair of Italian designers. There isn't better testimony to the city as a melting pot or to the strange turns that any major design project inevitably takes." -- "The Wall Street Journal"

"[D]esign projects are rarely tidy; they're much likelier to be muddled, chaotic, and to be determined by flukes, gaffes and compromises as much as forethought. It's always refreshing to come across an unexpurgated account of the messy reality, and the American design historian Paul Shaw has produced a particularly thoughtful and engaging example in his new book, "Helvetica and the New York City Subway System."" -- Alice Rawsthorn "The New York Times"

[D]esign projects are rarely tidy; they're much likelier to be muddled, chaotic, and to be determined by flukes, gaffes and compromises as much as forethought. It's always refreshing to come across an unexpurgated account of the messy reality, and the American design historian Paul Shaw has produced a particularly thoughtful and engaging example in his new book, "Helvetica and the New York City Subway System."--Alice Rawsthorn ""The New York Times" "

[D]esign projects are rarely tidy; they're much likelier to be muddled, chaotic, and to be determined by flukes, gaffes and compromises as much as forethought. It's always refreshing to come across an unexpurgated account of the messy reality, and the American design historian Paul Shaw has produced a particularly thoughtful and engaging example in his new book, Helvetica and the New York City Subway System.

--Alice Rawsthorn "The New York Times "

About the Author

Paul Shaw, an award-winning graphic designer, typographer,and calligrapher in New York City, teaches at Parsons School of Design and theSchool of Visual Arts. He is the coauthor of Blackletter: Type andNational Identity and writes about letter design in the blog BluePencil.


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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE
2 March 2011
Format: Hardcover
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12 December 2015
Format: Hardcover|Verified Purchase
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