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The man who created London’s landmark Tube map

Excerpt from The Verge

Mar 31, 2013 12:20 am

Skift Take

The genius of Beck’s initial design defined transit maps for the twentieth century, and it will be thrilling to see a descendant emerge who can define the twenty-first.

— Jason Clampet

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Wikimedia Commons

The original Tub map designed by Beck. Wikimedia Commons


You won’t find Harry Beck’s face on any coins or postage stamps, but his fingerprints are all over London. Born in 1902, Beck was an English engineering draftsman who sparked a small revolution in the early 1930s when he created a radical new map of the London Underground.

His linear, color-coded diagram was at first greeted with apprehension from transit authorities, but soon proved popular among London commuters. Today, it’s arguably the most recognizable and influential transit map in the world, having spawned similar designs in major cities across the globe.

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