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Writing on Map Design: Newsletter Archive

From 2013 to 2022 my monthly newsletter included general news, research news, maps in the media, events, and a map of the month. Number 100 was the final edition, although I will not rule out starting them again one day. You can still keep in touch with my irregular/occasonal mailings concerning events, books, research papers and merchandise. Drop me a line at (include a brief greeting so that I know you are human).

Newsletters are archived here in order of publication, February 2022 first, going back to the very first one in November 2013. For each month, click on the newsletter for a full pdf file, click on the image to the right of the newsletter for a higher-resolution jpeg file of the map of the month.


February 2022 (Number 100, final edition)

Map of the Month: New York City from first principles
Schematic inspiration direct from Hagstrom’s classic topographical Subway map

January 2022 (Number 99)

Map of the Month: The Periodic Table of Musical Modes (The Cylinder of Fifths)
My attempt to get to grips with the underlying structure of music theory


December 2021 (Number 98)

Map of the Month: Closer to home
A light-hearted celebration of my local coast

November 2021 (Number 97)

Map of the Month: Arts & Crafts London
Three new maps inspired by circumstance in a specially expanded edition

October 2021 (Number 96)

Map of the Month: Rounding off Moscow
My systematic exploration is completed, plus a new concentric circles map

September 2021 (Number 95)

Map of the Month: Two classic designs updated
Non-octolinear maps show off their potential

August 2021 (Number 94)

Map of the Month: Exploring Washington, DC, part 3: rounding off
The design sequence is completed with maps that feature curves

July 2021 (Number 93)

Map of the Month: Exploring Washington, DC, part 2: adding a twist
The design sequence continues with twists on tetralinear, hexalinear and octolinear maps

June 2021 (Number 92)

Map of the Month: Exploring Washington, DC, part 1: a design sequence
A brand new sequence commences with tetralinear, hexalinear and octolinear maps

May 2021 (Number 91)

Map of the Month: Mapping a lifetime of personal finance
Money management across four generations

April 2021 (Number 90)

Map of the Month: Cold War-Divided Berlin — the resolution
Updating a splendid Communist era Berlin design

Easter 2021 (Number 89)

Map of the Month: Moscow is egg-shaped, part 3
Continuing the egg theme for Moscow

Spring 2021 (Number 88)

Map of the Month: The schematic map that Parisians deserved?
An elegant solution for schematising Paris?

Dutch Election special edition, 2021 (Number 87)

Map of the Month: Mapping the 2021 Dutch elections
Exploring the crazy world of Dutch politics


December 2020 (Number 86)

Map of the Month: Fantasy transit maps in popular culture
Exploring the world of Lego cartography

November 2020 (Number 85)

Map of the Month: Mapping new trade regimes
Schematising coastline to create a clear infographic

October 2020 (Number 84)

Map of the Month: Moscow is egg-shaped, not octagonal?
Revisiting Moscow with surprising results

September 2020 (Number 83)

Map of the Month: Schematising the world
Simplifying coastlines and borders using hexagons

August 2020 (Number 82)

Map of the Month: The Rotterdam hinterland
Exploring a beautiful, early Netherlands schematic

July 2020 (Number 81)

Map of the Month: Four Seasons on the Essex Sunshine Coast
The cycle is finally completed

June 2020 (Number 80)

Map of the Month: Vienna revisited
Updating a classic, historic design

May 2020 (Number 79)

Map of the Month: Making abstract concepts concrete
Dangerous economic forces are made salient

April 2020 (Number 78)

Map of the Month: Moscow is egg-shaped?
Trying to tame unruly new circle lines

March 2020 (Number 77)

Map of the Month: What might a Brutalist Tube Map look like?
The result is surprisingly elegant!

February 2020 (Number 76)

Map of the Month: Extrapolation or speculation
Trying to second-guess Henry Beck

January 2020 (Number 75)

Map of the Month: Crossrail conundrums
Investigating a possible London Underground map future


December 2019 (Number 74)

Map of the Month: How to avoid intellectual property theft
A map guaranteed not to be a breach of copyright!

November 2019 (Number 73)

Map of the Month: The three corners of the Earth
Schematising the world with triangles.

October 2019 (Number 72)

Map of the Month: Bauhaus Berlin
Applying Bauhaus design to a Berlin S-Bahn map.

September 2019 (Number 71)

Map of the Month: The human Tube map
Making a map from an unruly mob!

August 2019 (Number 70)

Map of the Month: Distorting topology and topography
A mad idea applied to the Underground.

July 2019 (Number 69)

Map of the Month: Constructing Constructivism
A pastiche of a genre ideal for schematic mapping.

June 2019 (Number 68)

Map of the Month: Maps meet music
Recorder fingering finally makes sense.

May 2019 (Number 67)

Map of the Month: Not what it seems at first glance
An early Underground map IP violation.

Schematic Mapping Workshop special edition, 2019 (Number 66)

Maps of the Month: More from the decade of diagrams
America’s first-ever schematic network map?

NDU Teaching Workshop special edition, 2019 (Number 65)

Maps of the Month: Visions of Vienna
Maps chosen by NDU students to showcase their work.

Forthcoming Book special edition, 2019 (Number 64)

Map of the Month: Restoring dignity to an airline schematic
A standalone map is recreated from an iconic 1938 poster.

January 2019 (Number 63)

Map of the Month: Something to hang on the wall, Version II
Macdonald Gill’s Arts & Crafts design finally gets a fitting reconstruction.


December 2018 (Number 62)

Map of the Month: A fitting end to the decade of diagrams
George Dow’s pioneering work tops and tails the 1930s.

November 2018 (Number 61)

Map of the Month: How much of map design is typography?
The cartographer’s dream: no long station names.

October 2018 (Number 60)

Map of the Month: One of the earliest schematic network maps?
Published after London, but not inspired by London.

September 2018 (Number 59)

Map of the Month: Amsterdam, the final word?
The concentric-Us map gets railway lines, parks, coherent colouring and Vignelli styling.

August 2018 (Number 58)

Map of the Month: Transit maps of the skies
A classic, but ironic, airline advertisement is revitalised.

July 2018 (Number 57)

Map of the Month: Amsterdam: From Tramageddon to Metromorphosis?
The biggest service changes for decades are shown more clearly than on the official map.

June 2018 (Number 56)

Map of the Month: Yet another tube-map metaphor
A reworking of a James Joyce tube map.

May 2018 (Number 55)

Map of the Month: Mapping Brexit
Tube map-style infographics to help businesses plan for Brexit.

April 2018 (Number 54)

Map of the Month: Bridging the Great Manchester Divide
A double concentric circles map to emphasise disconnectedness rather than unity.

March 2018 (Number 53)

Map of the Month: A missing New York City Subway map?
Did New Yorkers have a mapping narrow escape?

February 2018 (Number 52)

Map of the Month: A different kind of map
Pathing the solution for a famous puzzle.

January 2018 (Number 51)

Map of the Month: Why isn’t the Circle Line circular?
A very speculative what-if treatment of Henry Beck’s most controversial design.


December 2017 (Number 50)

Map of the Month: Round in circles and back again
A special map to mark the 50th newsletter combines two notorious genres for New York City.

November 2017 (Number 49)

Map of the Month: Fitting the design rules to the network
Central Amsterdam is based on concentric U-shaped canals, its tram map should be too.

October 2017 (Number 48)

Map of the Month: Beck to the skies
An unexpected discovery of a Henry Beck Imperial Airways schematic map.

September 2017 (Number 47)

Map of the Month: Something to hang on the wall
A famous Arts & Crafts design gets the artistic licence treatment.

August 2017 (Number 46)

Map of the Month: Making sense of the Southern Electric
The world’s most (over-)complicated network becomes a deranged tapestry.

July 2017 (Number 45)

Map of the Month: What shape is Paris?
A less distorting concentric map of Paris, but will this one be popular?

June 2017 (Number 44)

Map of the Month: The five deadly sins of map design
Understanding good design by deliberately creating bad design.

May 2017 (Number 43)

Map of the Month: Politics versus pragmatics
A political design classic reinvestigated.

April 2017 (Number 42)

Map of the Month: Advance planning for Vienna
Official Viennese maps fail to impress, so I make one for myself.

March 2017 (Number 41)

Map of the Month: Art Nouveau Paris Metro
Another project repays slow development.

February 2017 (Number 40)

Map of the Month: Design on the Orient Express (Part 2)
1928: The earliest schematic I know with straight lines and route colour-coding.

January 2017 (Number 39)

Map of the Month: Coping with Adversity
How much topographical distortion is needed to squeeze a map into a wrongly-shaped panel?


December 2016 (Number 38)

Map of the Month: Modernism in its Spiritual Home?
The Vignelli New York City Subway Map style suits Berlin well.

November 2016 (Number 37)

Map of the Month: Seasonal Decoration
The seasonal theme continues for the Essex Sunshine Coast.

October 2016 (Number 36)

Map of the Month: Minimalising Scandinavian minimalism
I finally get round to fixing a map that has been irritating me.

September 2016 (Number 35)

Map of the Month: Brussels round in circles, back again
A successful design is brought up to date.

August 2016 (Number 34)

Map of the Month: More explorations of rotated tetralinear designs
A powerful, effective design technique for a compatible city.

July 2016 (Number 33)

Map of the Month: Homage to a long-lost design
1930s Art Deco splendour captures attention at a recent exhibition.

June 2016 (Number 32)

Map of the Month: De Stijl
A Brussels exhibition leads to a map inspired by van Doesburg and Mondrian.

May 2016 (Number 31)

Map of the Month: Köln ist eine Kreisstadt (Cologne is a circular city)
Is Köln the world’s most suited city for a concentric circles map?

April 2016 (Number 30)

Map of the Month: It’s the priorities that shape the design
Two independently-produced maps; similar priorities yield similar configurations.

March 2016 (Number 29)

Map of the Month: No network too small to feature as a decorative map
Just three lines and ten stations needed to allow the detail to speak for itself.

February 2016 (Number 28)

Map of the Month: Simple networks that are hard work to map
Sometimes it is the small networks that are troublesome to get right.

January 2016 (Number 27)

Map of the Month: Porthole on chaos
There is a right way, and a wrong way, to use circles to show the Paris Metro.


December 2015 (Number 26)

Map of the Month: The Chicago El network inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright
A decorative map celebrating the stained glass and style of the master architect.

November 2015 (Number 25)

Map of the Month: New York updated ... with curves and geography?
A rare event, expansion of the New York Subway, causes me to rethink an old design.

October 2015 (Number 24)

Map of the Month: Milan explorations (Part 2)
Elegant curves for the Italian network?

September 2015 (Number 23)

Map of the Month: Milan explorations (Part 1)
How could the style capital of the world have such an unstylish metro map?!

August 2015 (Number 22)

Map of the Month: Topographically reasonable maps of Berlin
People who want geographically accurate maps of Berlin get what they asked for.

July 2015 (Number 21)

Map of the Month: A trip to the seaside
An unusually warm and sunny British summer inspires Art Deco and Art Nouveau railway posters.

June 2015 (Number 20)

Map of the Month: Purely decorative for Glasgow
A map that is intended to be beautiful rather than usable:
the Glasgow Suburban rail network inspired by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

May 2015 (Number 19)

Map of the Month: Creating a London Underground night network diagram
Exciting new services require an exciting new map to publicise them,
but is this design pretty rather than usable?

April 2015 (Number 18)

Map of the Month: An old angle on Paris
Using rotated octolinear angles in an attempt to match the design rules with the network structure.

March 2015 (Number 17)

Map of the Month: New York Subway map competition winner recreated
A guest map: a lost design originally created by Raleigh D’Adamo and now reconstructed
from a photograph. Researched by Peter B Lloyd, implemented by Reka Komoli.

February 2015 (Number 16)

Map of the Month: The ugliest London Underground map in the world?
As voted for by my newsletter readers, except for the ones who liked it.

January 2015 (Number 15)

Map of the Month: Bending the rules to fit a city
Two Barcelona maps highlight ways of adapting concentric circle design rules to match the shape of a city.


December 2014 (Number 14)

Map of the Month: Lampooning schematic maps
Paris Metro in lollipop sticks to make fun of a poorly optimised design.

November 2014 (Number 13)

Map of the Month: Step by step in Boston (Part 3)
My Boston marathon concludes with some left-field designs and interesting new discoveries.

October 2014 (Number 12)

Map of the Month: Step by step in Boston (Part 2)
Continuing the design sequence to explore the properties of the Boston rail network:
the low linearity maps.

September 2014 (Number 11)

Map of the Month: Step by step in Boston (Part 1)
Creating a design sequence to explore the properties of the Boston rail network.

Aug 2014 (Number 10)

Map of the Month: A new Angle on Vignelli’s iconic design
Using 30° and 60° diagonals to straighten out the New York subway.

July 2014 (Number 9)

Map of the Month: It seemed like a good idea at the time, it always does
An apparently simple information design idea collapses under its own weight.

June 2014 (Number 8)

Map of the Month: A misunderstood design
In a tribute to Massimo Vignelli, his original 1972 New York Subway diagram
is updated to show current services and future construction projects.

May 2014 (Number 7)

Map of the Month: Design on the Orient Express
A stunning design from Italy in 1938, showing the whole of Europe as a schematised map.

April 2014 (Number 6)

Map of the Month: Gang-ravaged New York meets Cold-war Berlin
A colourful Berlin S-Bahn map from the East, with more than a nod towards
the Vignelli New York Subway map. Unfortunately never published.

March 2014 (Number 5)

Map of the Month: Lightning fails to strike twice in the same place in London
In an attempt to understand the popularity and visual power of concentric circles maps,
I create a hexagonal design that achieves neither.

February 2014 (Number 4)

Map of the Month: The first schematic network map. Not London or Berlin, but Paris?
An early drawing of a Paris Metro schematic by Jean Dry;
one of the first network schematic maps ever devised?

January 2014 (Number 3)

Map of the Month: Not another circles map!
The London Underground drawn using only circular arcs.
A pretty design, but perhaps not one for everyday use.


December 2013 (Number 2)

Map of the Month: Tube Map in Tinsel
A festive design for Christmas.

November 2013 (Number 1)

Map of the Month: Wien in einer kreisförmigen Zukunft (Vienna in a Circular Future)
A very orderly concentric circles creation showing planned U-Bahn lines for Vienna.