The colour-coded diagramatic map of London's underground rail network - the Tube - is a design icon. Originally drawn by Harry Beck, an engineering draftsman with London Underground's signals office and first published in 1933, the Tube map has changed considerably over the years, absorbing new lines and extensions along the way, but its design has also been a source of inspiration for countless advertising 'creatives', graphic designers and even fine artists. Now a new exhibition at the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden traces the evolution and considerable influence of Beck's design.
Opening on 18 May, Mind the Map: inspiring art, design and cartography (the title is a reference to the familiar warning to users of the Tube to mind the gap between the train and the platform) will draw on the museum's extensive collection of maps to explore themes of 'journeys, identity and publicity', according organisers. The exhibition will include previously unseen historic material alongside new artworks by leading artists including Simon Patterson, Stephen Walter, Susan Stockwell, Jeremy Wood, Claire Brewster, and Agnes Poitevin-Navarre.
Looking in particular at the relationship between identity and place, Mind the Map will explore the impact maps have had on our understanding of London and how they influence the way we navigate and engage with our surroundings.