Vignelli’s iconic NYC manual reissued exclusively on Kickstarter

Published:  September 16, 2014

The 1970 NYC Transit Authority Graphics Standards Manual, produced by Unimark’s Massimo Vignelli and Bob Noorda, is set to be exclusively reissued on Kickstarter. From the collective efforts of Jesse Reed, Hamish Smyth and Niko Sourtis, the book was initially documented on a dedicated website after being “found in a locker beneath old gym clothes.” Feeling that the digital rendition didn’t quite do the manual justice, the team are eager to reprint this classic resource.

Before Vignelli and Unimark’s incredible 4-year unravelling and restucturing of New York’s signage system, “mass confusion was the status quo”. Hired by the Transit Authority, Vignelli and Noorda delivered “perhaps unintentionally”, a manual that would become one of the world’s “classic examples of modern design.” Discovered in the basement of design firm Pentagram, each page is to be scanned, offset printed and bound, 42 years after the release, with one catch — it will only be available during the 30-day Kickstarter campaign, never to be reissued again. 

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With an introduction by Partner at international design consultancy Pentagram, Michael Beirut, and an essay by writer at New York magazine, Christopher Bonanos, the manual will be accompanied by premium design commentary. Beyond basic adjustment of curves for consistency, the pages won’t be altered in any way, which means details like hand scrawled notes from unknown users of the manual can still be seen. The reissued cover, introduction and essay headings are to appear in a custom version of Standard Medium – now replaced by Helvetica in the refurbished transport system – painstakingly recreated by type designer, Nick Sherman.

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The book has not yet been made available outside of the US and EU, although the campaign updates explain they are working on shipping to more countries. Would you order a copy at $158US?

Follow the campaign here.

One Response

  1. Simone Waddington

    Thank goodness for individuals that recognise outstanding design and value its important contribution to our world otherwise that manual could have so easily ended up in the bin. I am also grateful to them for providing a tactile experience that includes the emotion of scribbled notes and the solid feel of a printed publication. Digital will never completely take us away from print. It simply doesn’t feel right.

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