The art of transit: Making maps with words

Designer Scott Glew uses the text of station names to outline transit routes for his posters.

I first stumbled across teacher/designer Scott Glew’s sleek transit posters on his website this summer. The idea is simple but compelling: Use the text of station names to spell out city transit lines.

I admired Glew’s series of maps for Chicago, New York, the S.F. Bay Area and other cities known for their transit systems. So in my never-ending quest to prove to the world that Los Angeles is genuine transit city in its own right, I sent Scott an email to ask if I could hope to see one for L.A. County Metro in the near future. He responded that L.A. was on his short list for new designs and that he would let me know when it would be available.

Scott followed up with me this weekend and I’m happy to report that the 17″ x 22″ Los Angeles posters are now for sale on his website. And at $25 a piece, they make a great holiday present — *cough cough* — for transit aficionados.

I asked Scott to elaborate a bit for The Source on his inspiration and interest in this project and he gladly obliged:

My name is Scott Glew and I teach middle school social studies in the Minneapolis area. For some reason, I’ve always been interested in maps and transportation (I suppose you understand) and I started playing around with this idea in the spring of 2010. That summer, I shared a version of the Chicago and D.C. maps (not very different than the current ones…more or less a font change) with some friends and family and they encouraged me to try and sell them online. I guess what I am trying to convey with the maps is my passion for the subject. I really enjoy sharing that passion with other people who are interested and it has been amazing to read the countless emails I have received from people around the world who like the maps. At this time I don’t have any other transit related projects, but I do plan on continuing this one with new cities as time allows.

Congrats to Scott on the great work. In the mean time, hopefully Metro can keep bringing Measure R transit projects on line in short order and keep Scott busy updating this one.

Above: the Blue, Green, Red, Purple, Gold, Orange and Silver Lines. Image by

3 replies

  1. Give LA 15 years, and you’ll see a big difference. Expo and Crenshaw Lines, Purple, Gold, Orange and Green Line Extensions AND the Regional Rail Connector and heck, maybe the Rose and Santa Ana Line could one day be a reality.