metro map tizer
Map 1.0
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Map 2.0

Official maps:

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Moscow Metro map 2.0

Overview   Process   Vector  

Task: to issue the second edition of the metro map.

The second edition of the Moscow Metro Map from our studio carries almost twice as much information. We’ve put up a layer of all text in the Latin alphabet; highlighted metro stations with connection to the rail system platforms; added express buses and trains stops as well as metro-related parking; and marked rivers, airports, and handicap-accessible stations. The connection at Biblioteka Imeni Lenina station is finally represented with a circle.

metro map2 full
The most detailed map version to be installed at the metro station entrances next to the ticket booths comes at an enormous, over three feet-wide (1 m) size (fragment shown does not include the index)

The graphic system of the map is in complete accordance with the Moscow Transportation Department requirements. We were able to achieve this while preserving all the successful features of the previous version of the studio’s map, such as equally-distributed density, gradient on the connection circles, titles in Russian true to Russian grammar, grid with coordinates, and a list of stations in alphabetical order.

Release date: January 14 2013


art director
technical designer
project managers
metro map2 people lightmap
25.6″ square (65×65 cm) adhesive poster for the inside of a metro car

The loop line represented with a geometrical circle is the most recognizable, the signature element of the Moscow Metro Map and is to be preserved for as long as technically possible.

Second language

Traditionally, the Moscow Metro uses apostrophes for the station names in English. The studio’s map brought this practice to an end.

metro map2 language

All English “subtitles” are printed in the same grey blue for an instant identification. The exact low-contrast shade was selected together with a smaller size type to avoid competition with the main text in Russian since in the Moscow subway there is only one passenger from abroad per thousands of Russian-speakers.

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Text in different languages does not clash

The station names in Russian were meticulously placed in the nearest proximity to the stations themselves while the auxiliary names in the Latin alphabet had second priority.

metro map2 english russian descr
The Russian text is always closer to an object and the subs—farther

The second edition of the map features two indexes instead of just one, allowing foreign visitors to navigate it with ease using a familiar A to Z order.

metro map2 stations list
Note the sorting difference in English index

Obviously, publishing two separate maps in Russian and in English is just a question of time.

Ground transportation

On top of other improvements, the map 2013 sets a groundwork for bringing forth the Moscow city rail system. Moving traffic to the rail means relieving the metro and quite often it also gets you there faster and in a more convenient way. For instance, take Rizhskaya and Dmitrovskaya stations: in the metro system they are 4 stops and two connections away from each other, while taking a direct train from Dmitrovskaya rail station to Rizhsky rail terminal takes only nine minutes.

The map shows both: the rail platforms connected to the metro and rail lines going each to its terminal.

metro map2 railway
from Dmitrovskaya to Rizhskaya by train

Express buses and transportation to airports are treated the same way, so that all ground transportation has a consistent look throughout the map and different points are anchored to their geographical locations.

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Train, express bus, and airport transportation lines

This map makes finding your way from any airport to the city and back a breeze.

metro map2 domodedovo

Station connections

The tricky connection between four stations—Biblioteka Imeni Lenina, Borovitskaya, Arbatskaya, and Aleksandrovsky sad—deserves a closer look. This connection has an annoying peculiarity: you can’t get from Borovitskaya to Aleksandrovsky Sad. There were attempts to show this limitation in the previous edition, but this time we found a far more clear and elegant solution. Now the absence of a direct connection is immediately obvious.

metro map2 arbatskaya

Map 2013 is completely free from confusing line overlaps at the most critical locations—the connections. Now there’s no lines inside the connection circles which contributes to map overall clarity and legibility.



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The layout

There are virtually no connections outside the circle line and the stations line up in uniform lists. As in the first edition, these lists are typeset in the simplest, most legible and proper way: as a column flush left.

metro map2 list alignleft
It’s so easy to track stations with your finger and count them

Station-marking «stumps» have grown and share a baseline with the station names, making it impossible to miss a station even when counting them from afar.

Typeface and large details

The type used in the map 2013 is lighter and thinner (Direct light) yet larger. The station names and other text is set in accordance with Russian grammar using lower and upper case letters properly. But despite a popular misconception it did not shrink the text, quite contrary, the lower case letters are now larger than the upper case on the “classic” metro-car map.

metro map2 type
Legibility improved

The grid

In the current edition we’ve kept the same amount of horizontal sections of the grid and considerably increased their number vertically. By doing so, we’ve fit 2-3 stations per cell as opposed to 15-20 in the previous version (for example, most of the stations inside the circle used to inhabit the same grid cell). Finding a station you are looking for now takes a couple of seconds..

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B3 cell on the map 2010
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C12 cell on the map 2013

Color-impaired vision

The map is suitable for passengers with color-impaired vision. About 5-6% of people have some grade of color challenge which translates in about 250 thousand Moscow metro passengers daily. Having these people in mind, the colors chosen for the map are very high contrast in relation to each other. For example, the certain shade for the red line is stripped of the unnecessary yellow undertone to clearly set it apart from the orange line; there is a better definition between the kelly green and lime lines; blue, light blue, and purple are also hard to mistake one for another anymore.

Additionally, the lines colors are named in the legend. People with color-impaired vision can’t make any sense of the common phrases like “at the top of the red line” or “let’s meet at the orange Oktyabrskaya.” The circle’s line color is the only one not named as this line is impossible to mistake with any other.

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All colors of the Moscow metro

Since the line color name is set in smaller size type and a bad printing can make it difficult to read even to people with perfect vision, we’ve also marked each line in the legend with a number.

metro map2 linesnumeration
Secondary indexing

Little touches

Metro map 2013 is made with love for its users and to obscure details. Note how for the first time in the map history Vorobyovy Gory station is not sitting in the middle of the river, but on a bridge; how the line overlaps are executed with the actual tunnel depths in mind; and how it’s communicated that it’s quite a walk to the monorail.

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Formats and variations

Just like its ancestor, the second edition of the map can accommodate any required format and morph into an endless number of variations: with or without the river, with or without the rail lines, with the major highways, sights, parks, Moscow signature Stalin towers, Moscow river ports, Izmaylovsky park, and many others. To switch to a particular version a designer simply turns on and off certain layers, better yet, neither the map’s overall visual density, nor legibility will be effected by such modifications.

The basic version in Russian   English   Rail lines   Buses   River   Grid   Sights   «ë» character   Parks   Legend

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metro map2 layers legend
metro map2 layers river
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metro map2 layers zhd
metro map2 layers buses
metro map2 layers basic
metro map2 layers yo
metro map2 layers eng
metro map2 layers tourist attractions

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