T Map Challenge

MBTA map challenge

Graeme Mills

This studio is all focused around a competition the MBTA is having to create appreciation of the MBTA System. The MBTA wants the participators to design a new MBTA map. There are two competitions; a creative map competition that would just be cool to look at and be treated as art. The other competition is for a usable, functioning, map that could easily replace the current map. The inspiration behind this was to have a map that helped people who aren’t familiar with boston or its train maps could easily pick up our map and know how to use the trains.


the small details, and whats next

Rowan Lavelle

today we went ahead and fixed up Saeeds critique of having all the logos being the same colors. i initially thought my idea was better but when i opened up i decided that his idea was a cleaner and simpler look. so today we went to work. vectorized all the icons so that they looked a lot better. we finalized the icons part of everything. it looks nice. all we really have left is coming up with a more creative title. fixing up the legend so we can add our own artistic touch. then i think tomorrow we are going to clean up the entire map and make it look professional, then print it out to fit the requirements of the MBTA map competition. so overall i think we are almost there, just some more things to touch up on to make it all look good.

Dominick Tribone Visits NuVu

Graeme Mills

Dominick Tribone, an inovation leader at the MBTA, came to review our projects. Having him critiquing our maps gives us a huge step up compared to the other contestants since he is the one judging these maps. Our concept is to create a learning curve for people who might know the city but are transfering from car transportation to public transportation and might not know the MBTA routes and new college students. He liked our concept but he did have some suggestions to us. He said that our logos and icons made the map cluttered and we needed to work more on integrating the logos into the map and rescale them. He also wanted us to add lines in between different neighborhoods so it is easier to read but more importantly to integrate the logos into the map. Rowan and I are now tryng a bunch of different things to do exactly that.

thrusday, finally gettning into creating

Rowan Lavelle

today we began the plotting of the MBTA map on a diffrent sheet. we took the lines, the red, blue, orange ect. and put them on another page, so we had just those lines and the names of them. then we proceeded to move and take out the uneccisary names, such as the squares. we added our own touch and out in the district names behinde all of the subway lines such as "east boston" "cambridge" ect. while i was doing this graeme was creating the logos for all of the tourist attractions. they are going to be layed out like they are in the pictures in my last post. we also decided to add small picture of the center crossing at down town crossing in the botton of the map, to help people navigate in the area because right now it is quite confusing. what we plan to do tomrrow is get a good border on the downtown crossing picture in the botton right hand corner. and put all the logos where they belong. and then on friday clean everything up to make it look nice.

The Hybrid Map

Graeme Mills

The point of this map is to take the basic idea of the current MBTA tube map but make it represent boston more without making it too complicated to look at or without diluting any information. This means I will keep the same information on the map but at the same time highlight stops that lead to hubs like newbury street and cultural landmarks like fenway park. Another aspect of the current MBTA map that would make it easier for some people to read would be to mark time and/or distance on the map and also to make the map relative to certain areas of Boston. The map would also be fairly relative to north, south, east, and west so that someone going on the the train would know what direction they are going. The problem I am anticipating is cluttering. With all the information on the current map and plus the information I want to add the map will become too cluttered and it will become harder to read rather than easier. But, with all maps, comprimizes are made and some information is left out for the sake of legibility and I expect to do the same.

History of Apple Computers

Sam Favazza

The history of all the computers and devices Apple has created.


Created by:

Rowan and Sam

wednesday, almost done

Rowan Lavelle

Today Josh and Andrew talked to us about what they thought about our map. they said if we are going with a iconic map. we need more icons, more than the 15 we have now. he also asked us to change the BC and BU logo because they weren't in the theme of the simple logos. once he said that i said, i should change the goose, for boston common. then after that i looked at the beach icon and they said its too complicated to, so i changed that then i came to the realization that there is more than one beach in the greater Boston area, so he andrew suggested that if we find more beaches use the exact same icon. so after this talk me and graeme set to work what we have now is that we have a map, where all the icons are only 2 colors. the color of the line and the a white/black outline of the picture we are using. i think that tomorrow we are going to add on about 6 or 7 more icons, put a bunch in the copley square box. And probably clean up the all the areas so that they look as clean as possible, along with come up with maybe a different idea for the title, but right now i think that it looks nice.


Kate Reed

We started the studio out by learning Illustrator. To do this, we all created maps of different things. I created a map about the different paths in life you can take. It is easy to fall into the “average dude” category if you stop being a leader and become a follower. The “average dude” is represented in a navy blue color; navy blue is a pretty average color. The bright orangy-red color represents a leader, and how they are not afraid to try something new. A lot of our map is a purply gray color, in between red and blue. This shows how easily you can slip into becoming a follower.

Every detail is carefully thought out in our map. Some of the text is capitalized and some is all lower case. We made the average dude lowercase purposefully to show that he is just average, there is nothing special about him.

We then started working on our MBTA maps. I am working alone on this studio and my goal is to redesign the MBTA map in a new and awesome way that highlights some new way to use it.  I noticed that the current MBTA map is bias to the city. They use terms like “inbound” and “outbound” which yes, help if you are going to the city, but they make it very confusing if you are not. As soon as you are through the city your train switches to “outbound”, adding extra complications. I think it would be much simpler if the trains did not have an identity swap, and maybe used north and south instead of inbound and outbound.

         I want my MBTA map to be bias to parks and green spots around Boston. When I see a T map all the different train lines remind me of tree branches. Can a map be a tree? One of my ideas for my map is playing with perspective to make the trains lines look like tree branches. Instead of using the harsh man-made reds and greens on the map we use today, I will try to make my colors neutral and natural tones.

I have begun my project of making the MBTA map into a tree. The tree signifies that Boston is always growing and expanding. My map is a nature themed map. On the map, certain stops will be turned into flower buds on the “branches”. The stops will be the specific stops that have parks near by.

         I had to start making my map on Illustrator. I scanned my sketch onto the computer then traced over it in Illustrator. It’s a little annoying to draw it on Illustrator because I am not familiar with the program, however I like using illustrator because it is very easy to change things. If I was drawing the tree by hand I would have to start over each time I made a mistake. Now I have the basic subway lines in the position I want them to be in, and I can add and subtract objects to the stations with outdoorsy places near by.

Dominick from the head of Innovation for the MBTA came in and looked at our projects. He was a really interesting guy and passionate about maps, which was fun for us to see. He gave us some great feedback for our maps. The main thing Dominick said about my map was that the tree trunk is confusing because it is not a train line. He suggested I try to use the red line and turn that into the trunk. I think it is a great idea.

My original drawing is too linear, and I was not able to make it work. I have now started my tree over twice. I was headed in the wrong direction, so I have made a U turn and started over.

I made my next model using Photoshop, an organic colored tree as a base. I didn’t end up liking that model, so I abandoned this tree too. It’s frustrating to have to start over but it’s worth it if you’re not getting the results you like.

Yet another model- this one is a silhouette of a tree and I am trying to make it look more and more like a tree. To do this, I have to redraw the T line using more organic lines and shapes. It is really important that the branches of the tree are as similar to the train lines as possible, because this will make it easier to layer the map with other details. I have filtered through the branches so they are thin and match the T line. I left the T map behind the silhouette, so the station names are still there. It is starting to look really good.

I am now debating on what to draw to signify a T stop with a park near by. I have flower buds and clusters of branches that are my two favorites. They look good together or apart.

I am struggling. As I go in a more artistic direction I am being constantly reminded to make a more geographically correct map that people will actually be able to use. It is a difficult balance.

I am experimenting with showing the T lines through the tree. I didn’t like the idea in the beginning, but I don’t think they turned out that bad. The T lines look better when there are no words on the tree. I also moved the words around so the tree isn’t covering them all.

On my tree I want to signify the stops where there are parks and green spaces near by. I have a few options on how to do that I could use flower buds, clusters of branches, green puffballs or yellow fluffs. I can use them together or use a few at a time. I personally like the flower bud and clusters of branches together. I like the yellow fluffs because they add some bright color. I really like how my tree is a silhouette, but I am worried it looks to dead. It is not my intention to make a dead tree.

Matt Brown came in who is a designer for Ideo. He is a really cool guy. Matt gave me some great feedback on my map.  Matt suggested that I make a second map that is just the tree without the fluff so my map can also be used for navigating.  I think Matt really liked my idea. He said it is really powerful.

I started adding the fluff to the tree.  The stops with parks near them have flower buds and bright green leaves, as stops without parks near by are a duller purply brown.

         Part of my feedback was that maybe I should have a second map that is clearer to read. While I understand this feedback I disagree and think it takes away from the power of the image. Instead I am going to try to make the T stops with parks near them super legible.

This was an intense studio. My tree is done- I love my tree.

The Tree

Kate Reed

I created a subway map that highlights green spaces in Boston. I used Photoshop to draw a tree that is a geographically accurate representation of the Train lines. Specific stops with parks nearby are emphasized on my map by flower buds with the stop name written in bold. The color of the trees foliage shows generally how green the areas are. 

the APPLE map

Rowan Lavelle

Today Sam and I decided to make a historical map of the apples product line, starting all the way back with the apple I all the way to the mac book pro, retina display.