01 May 2009

TriMet Map Cover Designs: 1997, 1998, 1999

2049.Picking up a series I've dropped for a few entries, here's the continuation of the TriMet covers series. This time, we look at 1997, 1998, and 1999.

The design sense is starting to be very dialled back now. The 1997 cover seems inspired by the 1996 cover, it uses the same type and has the same color-block-and-dotted-line theme. The photo of MAX at the Civic Stadium (I don't think it was "The Piggy" quite yet) is similarly monchromatic and screened back just a little.

The 1997 Book, which I don't have to hand right now, was a different animal altogether. The format of the TriMet Schedule books have tended to resemble a paperback novel, about the same size, with newsprint pages and a cardstock cover. For this year, it was a newsprint pamphlet, about the size of a small magazine.

Being entirely newsprint and larger, it was simpler to get more than one schedule grid on a page, meaning instead of Weekday/Saturday/Sun-Holiday sections, each route had all three schedules (as appropriate) grouped under route number.

It sounds as though it was a great idea, and on paper it looks good, but in practice is was not a success. The biggest problem was durability. If you bought a Transportation Guide and Map it was something that was liable to go many places (if you were a heavy transit user) and could be stuffed in a backpack, and back pocket, a purse, or what-have-you. The smaller format also held up very well under the uses it would have gotten (I knew someone who drilled a hole through one corner and hung it up by a string by the phone, like a small-town phone book). A Guide that was wholly newsprint just didn't stand up, and the larger format was awkward, to say the least.

The preceding was my assumption, but I must be getting some of it right ... the old Guide format returned the very next year, 1998.

As far as 1998 and 1999, the design ideas, which went from restrained to raucous, went straight to restraint and stayed there. "Slice-of-transit-life" photos, friendly and quaint, formed the centerpiece of the design, and minimal type and graphic adventurism. The trend toward a new typeface is also confirmed, as the same type had graced the design since approximately 1996.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

No comments: