I came of age in Fairbanks, Alaska, where signage, infographics, and semiotics where minimal so please forgive my fascination for things like subway sign standards books and reflective raised pavement markers.
The manual will be printed using high-quality scans of the ring-binder original. Although the reprint will have a sewn binding, it will remain faithful to its single-sided page format. It will include an introduction by Vignelli’s protégé and Pentagram partner, Michael Bierut, and an essay from New York magazine’s Christopher Bonanos.
Reed emphasized that the manual is meant to be read as much as seen. He pointed to a passage on letter spacing that demonstrates how Vignelli and Noorda expected serious attention to every detail: “A modular system has been devised, which offers consistent spacing for letters and words for the three sizes of type. This unit system must be scrupulously adhered to at all times as this will preclude any inconsistency, regardless of where or when any given sign is being manufactured.”
Reed pointed out that “the vernacular that’s written into the guidelines is different than the subway language itself, but there’s harmony between the two. Unimark had clear and intentional conclusions about directional instructions for the passenger, and in order for that language to work, the guidelines had to be written with confidence, clarity, and conviction.”