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Object Timeline

1999

  • Work on this object began.

2000

  • Work on this object ended.

2011

2018

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Poster, Green Map System Icons, 1999–2000

This is a Poster. It is dated 1999–2000 and we acquired it in 2011. Its medium is offset lithograph with vegetable-based ink on recycled paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

The Green Map System assists in encouraging people around the world to engage with issues of sustainability, ecology, and the environment. Started in 1995, founder Wendy Brawer and her team have built a vocabulary of 170 icons that can be applied to maps for the purpose of charting everything from wheelchair accessibility and wind energy sites to green buildings and fair trade markets. As of 2011, there have been three iterations of the symbols; the third version of Green Map icons appeared in 2008.
The Green Map lexicon of symbols is viewed by its creators as a living and open system. Icons and their usage are discussed by project participants and the general public through both email and the Open Green Map website. As of February 2011, the system involved 731 different mapping projects in over 55 countries.
The Green Map System builds on a collection of icon and logo projects already documented in the museum’s collection. The Henry Dreyfuss archive includes the Symbol Sourcebook, first created by Dreyfuss and his firm in 1972, which collects and defines more than 20,000 graphic symbols used in scientific, industrial, and social communication. The museum also holds examples of logos created by Paul Rand (IBM, Westinghouse, Enron), Dan Friedman (Citibank), Bruce Mau (Netherlands Architecture Institute) and Milton Glaser (I [heart] New York).
The Green Map System is an example of how contemporary graphic design has responded to 21st century issues and needs by meeting consumer interest while highlighting the very real problems that face our global community. Under consideration for acquisition are two posters with iterations of the Green Map icons and three maps that use the icons for the cities of San Francisco, New York City, and Uji, Japan.

This object was catalogued by Julia Pastor. It is credited Gift of Wendy Brawer, Green Map System.

Its dimensions are

80 × 43 cm (31 1/2 × 16 15/16 in.)

It is inscribed

Printed in yellow and white text, upper left: Green Map System Icons / Système d'Icônes Cartographiques Verts / Iconos del Sistema de Mapas Verdes

Cite this object as

Poster, Green Map System Icons, 1999–2000; USA; offset lithograph with vegetable-based ink on recycled paper; 80 × 43 cm (31 1/2 × 16 15/16 in.); Gift of Wendy Brawer, Green Map System; 2011-46-4

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18771157/ |title=Poster, Green Map System Icons, 1999–2000 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=11 December 2018 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>