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Transport / Mass transit

Kickstarter raises $140,000 to fund a poster listing all 468 New York subway stations

Long term readers may remember the unlikely story of the Kickstarter campaign to fund a reprint of the 1970 New York City Transit Authority Graphics Standards Manual. Last autumn, it managed to raise $250,000, in just one day.

The little crowdsourcing campaign that could was the work of Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth, a pair of NYC-based designers who guessed, correctly, that there’s a sizeable group of New Yorkers who really, really like fonts.

This, it turns out, was not some kind of one-off fluke. Earlier this year, Smyth made a poster, listing all 468 stations on the New York subway in alphabetical order, in their official fonts, and above the logos of the lines that serve them. The campaign, which launched on 16 June, was intended to raise $29,800 to fund a print run.

At time of writing, it’s raised $140,281. There are still seven days to go before the campaign closes.

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Here’s a picture of the poster in question. It is, it must be said, a quite lovely bit of design:

Smyth’s girlfriend and collaborator Alex Daly, the founder of the crowdfunding firm Vann Alexandra who sometimes goes by the unlikely name of the “Crowdsourceress”, told us via email that Smyth had originally made the poster for purely decorative use. But, “everyone who visits our apartment loves the poster and asks where they can get one”, so they decided to print more of them.

The commercial version, which is officially licensed by the Metropolitan Transit Authority, will be printed in 11 pantone colours in Italy. There’ll also be a limited run of 40″ x 55.5″ silkscreened prints by one-time Andy Warhol collaborator Alexander Heinrici:

The poster, like the one to reprint the graphics manual before it (which, incidentally, Daly says Smyth and his colleagues found under a pile of dirty clothes in their office’s basement), looks very, very cool. But Daly says there’s more to the campaign than that:

Hamish and I are hoping to create a model of democratising New York design. We want to get important design artifacts – from design bibles to everyday subway stations – into the people’s hands.

We’re not entirely convinced by this the MTA still own the design, after all but it is, nonetheless, very pretty. And also, if, like us, you are a bit of a nerd, very, very cool.

You can read about the MTA Graphics Manual Kickstarter here.

And you can donate, should be feel inclined, here.

All images courtesy of Alex Daly and Hamish Smyth.
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