Stainless steel, aluminum, PVC, vitreous enamel, polyester film, and Optiwhite glass
7' 6 1/2" x 27 1/2" (230 x 70 cm)
Henry C. Beck’s iconic diagram of the London Underground from the 1930s clearly presents the city’s subterranean transit lines, but until now there has been no comprehensive mapping of its pedestrian routes. In 2005 the designers of Applied Information Group (AIG) identified 32 different signage systems for pedestrians, creating “visual noise rather than reliable, coordinated information.” In an effort to make the city easier to navigate for the 2012 Olympic Games, the mayor’s office and Transport for London have begun a campaign called Legible London and commissioned AIG to design a user-friendly pedestrian way-finding system. AIG’s design for the maps and signs, the result of extensive research, is focused on the needs of pedestrians. Maps are placed to match the user’s orientation and include three-dimensional (and therefore more recognizable) renderings of landmarks and details such as whether the streets are cobblestone or asphalt; concentric circles identify locations within five-minute and 15-minute walks. The system is also integrated with public transport networks to get both residents and tourists to destinations near and far. Legible London was launched in 2007 with a prototype in the West End and in 2009 expanded into three more neighborhoods; it has been a great success, with some surveys showing that most Londoners would like the system to be available across the city. Legible London renders an exceptionally complex city more accessible and transparent, enabling both efficiency and exploration, and has the added benefit of encouraging walking, thus addressing environmental and public-health issues.