Every day in cities across the world, tourists and commuters alike stand hunched over tube maps in underground stations, desperately trying to make sense of the interweaving lines of colour that swim before their eyes.
French Serbian architect Jug Cerovic has taken pity on their struggles - with his recently-published collection of standardised tube maps for 12 major cities across the globe.
His INAT series of maps are meant to be easy to read, easy to memorise and easy to use.
They enlarge crowded city centres to make the multiple lines and connecting stations more visible and each map features a standard set of symbols. All lines are either vertical, horizontal, or at a 45 degree angle, and most contain no more than five bends along their entire length.
Symbolic shapes are used for each city: circles for Moscow and Paris; rectangles for Beijing and Shanghai; a stadium shape for Berlin and Seoul, parallelograms for London. New York and Mexico feature straight parallel lines to replicate their gridded street patterns.
Cerovic, who has already created a series of maps for his hometown of Belgrade, describes his new creations as “a compromise between legibility, usefulness and beauty of design” and compares them to “a companion for everyday travel through the polis”.
In an interview with Slate, he said that he hopes major cities will eventually replace their current maps with INAT designs.
But for now, he’s putting them in the hands of the lost and disorientated public.