The London Underground Map

A talk by Maxwell Roberts

Sometimes called a design classic, sometimes a design icon, the London Underground map has been a part of London for decades. Over the years, with more and more additions, the challenge to produce clear attractive maps that keep to the rules, places increasing demands on its designers.

A cognitive psychologist asks: why do maps based on Harry Beck’s design principles help us to plan journeys; does following the rules always guarantee us the best possible design; and what happens when we break the rules?

Max Roberts is a lecturer in psychology at the University of Essex. His main research topics are human reasoning and intelligence. More recently, this has developed into an interest in how these relate to the design and interpretation of schematic maps specifically, and to wayfinding in general.

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