22 April 2009

TriMet Map Cover Designs: 1995, 1996

2041.Now we move up to the years '95 and '96. Here they are:

The designs from these years are very different in style and mood.

The 1995 map is very businesslike and celebrates the most charming feature of the TriMet graphic oeurve from prior to 2001; the TriMet Sector Symbols. I'm saving the meat of that idea for another article, but the idea is that, like a pie, the landscape was divided into seven radial segments, all pointing toward The Portland Mall, going, from the north clockwise: Purple Raindrops, Blue Snowflake, Brown Beaver, Green Leaf, Yellow Rose, Orange Deer, Red Fish. The sector lines were grouped into their respective shelters along Fifth And Sixth Avenues on the transit mall, and the lines serving each shelter along with the sector symbol could be clearly seen on illuminated signage that was visible from at least a half block away.

The genius of this system can hardly be overstated. If you're unfamiliar with the system, all you need remember is the color and symbol of the route that brought you in, look for the sign, and you're halfway there. If you do know the system and you just want to be "in the moment", just look for the sign. The simple shapes were charming and the colors were interesting.

The 1996 design doesn't invite too much commentary, and that's a statement on the strength and appropriateness of its look. There is no overestimating what appropriately-chosen type, a screened-back monochrome approach, and simple graphic elements can do. This design is niether too much nor too little, but it's just right.

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