is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Principal Designer at Adobe, Design Chair at Wildcard and co-founder of Kidpost. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired by Etsy, Inc.), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children. Refer to the advertising and sponsorship page for inquiries.+
For the past year or so, these freestanding signs showcasing maps and local information have been appearing throughout New York City. They were designed by Michael Bierut’s team at Pentagram, working with City ID, Billings Jackson Design, RBA Group, and T-Kartor—all for the city’s Department of Transportation. They signs are primarily geared towards visitors, so being a New Yorker myself, it’s hard to evaluate their effectiveness. But they’re beautiful works of municipal graphic design, and demonstrate a rigorous attention to detail that’s sadly too rare in public design efforts.
The signs come in a range of sizes to match their environments. Many of them are installed as part of New York’s Citibike docks, though those aren’t as impressive as the obelisk-like form of the freestanding signs.
My favorite detail is probably the system of intricate icons of architectural landmarks developed for the signs’ graphic language—sixty-four were commissioned for this first phase of the project, with more to come.+