Mind The Map

Recently I managed to get across to the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden to take a wander around the Mind The Mapinspiring art, design and cartography exhibition.

I really like the London Transport Museum, it’s such a creative and enjoyable place to visit, in addition to the great content they have on offer.

The exhibition itself looks largely at the history of maps portraying London.  Ever since Harry Beck‘s famous electrical wire interpretation of the London Underground (probably one of the finest ever examples of outstanding graphic design), the cartography of the city has been continually inspired, deciphered and re-imagined by others.

You don’t need a specific interest in maps, or even London, to appreciate and enjoy this exhibition.  The collection is home to a range of artworks, posters, and varying efforts demonstrating how different artists saw the city in different ways.  One of the great aspects were the snippets of information that gave an insight to the different artists, such as the following effort from MacDonald Gill.

Worked on last of the London map all day – doing colouring till 3am Tuesday – until I completed it

Despite having a much more flowing and artistic interpretation to his maps, versus the straight (though still geographically inaccurate) lines of Beck, both the map styles retain a sense of clarity and affection.

Some of my other favourite examples on show were Harry Beck’s original 1931 effort of his underground map, received with great success.

Special World Cup edition of an early Pocket Underground map (1966).

3-D presentation of the map, white space removed and carefully draped about its central point.

What’s great about the museum is that your entry ticket can be used for unlimited re-entry over the next 12months, terrific value regardless of any of the special exhibitions that are on there.

The exhibition is running until October 28th so head down to Covent Garden piazza and take a look.


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