See more objects with the tag multicolored, information, map, wayfinding.

Object Timeline


  • Work on this object began.


  • We acquired this object.






  • You found it!

Poster, New York City Subway Map

This is a Poster. It was designed by Massimo Vignelli. It is dated 1974 and we acquired it in 1987. Its medium is offset lithograph on white wove paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

In his 1974 New York subway map, Massimo Vignelli used an eight-color palette to communicate the complex system, assigning each line a specific color. Critics found the diagrammatic plan too abstract, but many aspects of the design, including the color-coding of the lines, were retained in future iterations.

It is credited Gift of Unknown Donor.

Our curators have highlighted 5 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

Its dimensions are

71.1 x 58.4 cm (28 x 23 in.)

Cite this object as

Poster, New York City Subway Map; Designed by Massimo Vignelli (Italian, active USA, 1931–2014); USA; offset lithograph on white wove paper; 71.1 x 58.4 cm (28 x 23 in.); Gift of Unknown Donor; 1987-24-2

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibitions Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color and Design USA: Contemporary Innovation.

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

For higher resolution or commercial use contact ArtResource.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Poster, New York City Subway Map |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=28 November 2022 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>