Helvetica and the New York City Subway System

Blue Pencil is pleased to announce the first Blue Pencil Editions publication: Helvetica and the New York Subway System: The True (Maybe) Story. This is an updated, expanded, annotated and profusely illustrated version of the essay originally written by me for AIGA Voice in the fall of 2008. The book version takes into account new information and is supplemented by comprehensive notes, a bibliography and a chronology of the New York City subway system. Prof. Clifton Hood, author of 722 Miles: The Building of the Subways and How They Transformed New York (1993), has written an introduction.

The hardcover book was designed by myself and Abby Goldstein. It was printed by Capital Offset Company of Concord, New Hampshire and bound by Acme Bookbinding of Charlestown, Massachusetts. It is covered in black linen with “Subway” stamped in white foil on front and back in Akzidenz Grotesk BQ Medium and Neue Helvetica 65 (Medium) respectively. It is sewn with golden yellow headbands to match the golden yellow endpapers. The paper is Anthem matte coated. There are 273 images including many reproductions of pages from various MTA and NYCTA signage manuals.

Helvetica and the New York Subway System has ganerned advance praise from Steve Heller, Ellen Lupton, Richard Hollis, William Drenttel, Massimo Vignelli, Michael Bierut, Tom Geismar, Erik Spiekermann, Margaret Calvert and Alfred Hoffmann (the son of Eduard Hoffmann, the co-designer of Neue Haas Grotesk aka Helvetica). The book can be ordered online at http://www.helveticasubway.com The website was designed by Greg D’Onofrio and Patricia Belen of Kind Company.

One reason that the book has such an ungainly title is that my story of how the sign system evolved over the past forty years is based on personal recollections and evidence that is continually changing. If readers of the book have information that challenges some of my facts or conclusions then I welcome the opportunity to correct the record. If the book does well there is the possibility of a mass market edition and the chance to revise the text. The standards of the Blue Pencil blog apply to this book as much as they do to any of the books that have been dissected here. I just hope that I have caught all of the typographical errors.
I want to thank the following people (in alphabetical order) for making the book possible:Stephanie AaronErich AlbPatricia BelenMichael BosniakColin BrignallArlene BronzaftMargaret CalvertMatthew CarterJoan CharysynAlessandro ColizziJan ConradiBrian CudahyRaleigh D’AdamoGreg D’OnofrioTom GeismarStuart GitlowAbby GoldsteinStanley GoldsteinEmily Gordon and Print magazineDoris HalleSteve HellerMichael HertzOtmar Hoefer and Linotype LibraryAlfred HoffmannClifton HoodPeter JosephJamie LemoineTom LincolnPeter LloydRod McDonaldMIT MuseumJohn MontemaranoLars MüllerJon NaarNAGO (Dutch Archive of Graphic Designers)Bob NoordaDave PirmannJames PuckettCharles SachsCarey StummJohn TauranacTeatro Piccolo, MilanoJoe TestagroseType Directors ClubMassimo VignelliHoward York