What are VanMaps?
VanMaps is the junction of my love for minimal graphic design and maps, specifically subway maps. The basic idea is to take the subway map we are all so used to seeing and completely flip everything. A good subway map makes reading the different subway lines easy and clear so you can find your way from point A to point B. This requires the map to distorted so the city you see on the map isn’t real. This is perfectly displayed in Massimo Vignelli’s 1972 map of the New York City Subway which showed Central Park as a giant square.
When I look at the subway map I always want to know where the lines really go. The VanMaps take this wish to a ridiculous extreme. A fully geographic map would be cluttered and difficult to read. I stripped that all away. All you have now is the essence, the subway itself and nothing else. In trying for the most geographic accuracy the map now becomes totally abstracted. The subway line exists on a blank plane. Totally accurate, totally useless. But damn does it look good.
What is an Infographic
An infographic is exactly what it sounds like: it’s an informational graphic. VanMaps are as much about education as they are about good design. Each subway map tells you a story about the history of the line to give it a context that is missing as the design has stripped all context away. The statistics put the line in another context, that of how the line compares to the rest of the system.
A Note on the Statistics
The statistics are taken from many sources. Because the MTA tracks ridership by station entries and not which line each passenger uses it’s impossible to get a 100% accurate count for each line. Stations are counted for multiple lines if more than one subway runs through (Times Sq for instance is counted for the IRT 7th Ave, BMT Broadway, IND 8th Ave, and IRT Flushing as well as 42nd St Shuttle). Route lengths are also an approximate as I’ve yet to find an official count to the foot.
Enough about the maps, what is Vanshnookenraggen?
Vanshnookenraggen (van – shnok’ – en – rag’ en) is Andrew Lynch.
Andrew Lynch is a CUNY Hunter College Alum (’09) with a BA in Geography. He is a licensed real estate agent, photographer, and radical cartographer living and working in New York City. I started making maps because the maps I wanted to see didn’t exist. I have always been fascinated by giant plans for cities that were never realized. One night I decided to make a map of the Boston subway, the MBTA, as it would have looked as if the planned extension of the Red Line through my home town hadn’t been shot down. It snowballed from there.
I have to admit I am a lazy person so for me to design and produce a map it’s only because I’ve exhausted my search for someone else to do it. I share these with the world out of love for what I do and I hope it shows.
Are you going to make maps for other cities?
Already working on it. Keep in mind, like any hard working artist in New York, I’m literally running this business out of my livingroom. I have started with New York because I’m already here but I have many more cities in the works. You want to see more? Buy my maps so I can move to a bigger place and have more room for them!
Will you have other sizes or framed prints available?
Other sizes, yes… eventually. See about about the space issue. Frames, no.
Do you license your designs for other products?
At the moment, no. Perhaps in the future. Can’t hurt to ask though.
Returns and Exchanges
I will honor any returns or exchanges as long is the poster is in the same condition as it was received in, within 30 days and you cover the shipping. Send a note in the tube with instructions on which poster you would like to exchange. Send me an email first, info [at] vanshnookenraggen.com and I will send you my address to ship to.