Transit maps may be the greatest thing a graphic designer can ever make. Design, I was taught when I was in the trade, is not art. It’s utility, with some style. Still, Lance Wyman, the designer of the Metrorail transit map, created something strangely beautiful when he was tasked with the project in the mid-1970s.
Wyman had to build a useful, clear map of Metro from a rangy and messy reality. Now that he’s been brought back to update the map from its extremely ’70s style, his tweaks—-like changing the yet-to-be-built Silver Line to a “cool, pale pink”—-are being resisted:
Wyman said he thinks the cherry blossom color for the Dulles line sends a “welcome to visitors from Dulles” to the heart of Washington.
Metro officials are not so sure. They said they are keeping an open mind about pink and want to see what riders have to say. In an online survey that includes a draft version of the redesigned map, the transit agency asks riders for a Dulles line color preference: The choices are silver, orange or “a color other than silver or orange.”
So, that’s either silver, or orange, or any color that isn’t silver or orange; basically, all the colors. I’m somewhat partial to pink, but doesn’t seem like Metro officials are feeling a color change at all. Leave your color suggestions in the comments, and maybe Metro’s new public outreach guru will take a look.