If you’re going to be living in New York for the first time, you’re probably going to spend your first year heavily relying on the MTA subway map. You’re going to need it to navigate the trains and take some of the adventures Katie, Lauren and I have been describing around the 5 boroughs. (If you’re from New York—congratulations on mastering the often confusing public transportation system!) I can personally attest to the interest of the Communication Design department in mapping, but I believe its true of general Parsons interests too. New York happens to be a perfect place to experiment on mapping all sorts of things. Mapping something well should result in better communication and look good too.
In Spring 2011, Parsons offered a class called NYC Subway Map taught by Julia Wargaski and Paul Shaw that challenged its students to design better subway maps than what currently exists (above). Below are the versions Seung Won Hur and Phillip Campion, both are seniors in Communication Design, created during that class.
Besides maps that are useful for navigation, students are also concerned with mapping things in ways that will inform people and convey new meaning about a place or subject. Joan Wong, another CD senior, in William Bevington‘s Topics: Information Design created the following piece on public elementary schools in Manhattan. It shows the location, district, student population, ethnic breakdown, student performance, special education and english learner population in each school.
Of course, you don’t have to wait until you’re a senior to create great looking maps. In one Foundation year Laboratory class taught by John Roach and Julia Gorton the students created a large group illustration of downtown Manhattan. View Parsons – Foundation – Laboratory – John Roach & Julia Gorton from School of Design Strategies on Vimeo.