See more objects with the tag graphic design, transportation, multicolored, map.

Object Timeline


  • Work on this object began.


  • We acquired this object.





  • You found it!

Poster, Prototype for New York City Subway Map

This is a Poster. It was designed by Michael Hertz Associates. It is dated 1978 and we acquired it in 1987. Its medium is offset lithograph on white wove paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

In the 1978 prototype, Michael Hertz Associates added New York streets and landmarks. Hertz kept Vignelli’s colors as circular bullets, but rendered all subway lines in red, which users found confusing. Later iterations, as well as today’s map, use a “trunk line” color coding system, with one color assigned to each avenue of operation.

It is credited Gift of Unknown Donor.

Our curators have highlighted 5 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

This object has not been digitized yet.

Its dimensions are

70.5 × 57.8 cm (27 3/4 × 22 3/4 in.)

Cite this object as

Poster, Prototype for New York City Subway Map; Designed by Michael Hertz Associates (New York, New York, USA); USA; offset lithograph on white wove paper; 70.5 × 57.8 cm (27 3/4 × 22 3/4 in.); Gift of Unknown Donor; 1987-24-1

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color.

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

For higher resolution or commercial use contact ArtResource.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Poster, Prototype for New York City Subway Map |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=28 September 2022 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>