David Perell+ Your Authors @david_perell "The Writing Guy" | I tweet about business, online learning, and Internet writing | My Podcast: perell.com/podcast | My writing school: writeofpassage.school/ May. 10, 2019 1 min read + Your Authors

Maps distort geography.

For example, the map of New York's subway system shrinks the massive borough of Staten Island and makes Manhattan look bigger than it really is.

The best maps are easy to use and easy to read. Sometimes, they're useful because they're not accurate.


In 1933, Henry Beck saw that the London Underground was too hard to understand, so he simplified the map.

He abandoned geographic accuracy, which was the standard for maps until then.

Instead, Beck focused on connections between trains and the network of stations.

There are many ways to visualize a city.

Here are some old maps of the New York subway system.

Massimo Vignelli transformed the New York subway map.

Key features:

• No messy angles
• Train lines ran only at 45 and 90-degree angles
• Each line had its own color
• Each stop had its own dot
• Train maps were no longer geographically accurate

Plus, it's beautiful.

You can follow @david_perell.


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