If you’ve been on Twitter for past couple of days you’ll have no doubt noticed that the design community (or the sizeable type-obsessed segment of it) is very excited that designers Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth, founders of thestandardsmanual.com, have started a Kickstarter project to reissue the 1970 NYC Transit Authority Graphics Standards Manual by Unimark’s Massimo Vignelli and Bob Noorda as a full-size, limited edition book:
Every single day, millions of New Yorkers rely on the subway to get around the city, and you can’t use the subway without encountering the signage designed by Unimark. Over the years many changes have taken place (such as the switch from Standard Medium to Helvetica), but it is a testament to the quality of the work that, 44 years later, the signage holds up.
And perhaps on a deeper level, the signage has given the subway a voice. When a lot of people think of New York City, these signs pop into their head. We feel a tremendous responsibility to publish not only an important piece of design history, but an important part of New York City’s history.
Even if you can’t afford the book itself — it starts at $133USD if you live in Canada, more if you are in the EU — you can back the project for as little as $3, and the project’s video featuring Pentagram‘s Michael Bierut on the graphic standards manual is well worth watching:
You can also see scans from a copy of the manual discovered the basement of design firm Pentagram in 2012 on thestandardsmanual.com.