The armpit tube map and other ideas

It’s not always easy to consult a map on a crowded tube train when you are squashed up against someone’s armpit. But what if that armpit displayed a handy eye-level map? Just one of Kingston students’ ideas on the Underground

It’s not always easy to consult a map on a crowded tube train when you are squashed up against someone’s armpit. But what if that armpit displayed a handy eye-level map? Just one of Kingston students’ ideas on the Underground

Regular readers will remember our post on Kingston student Clare Newsam’s ingenious roundel-shaped seesaw seat. Clare’s was just one of a number of ideas that Kingston third year graphics students came up with in response to an open brief I set tem earlier this year. To tie in with the London Underground’s 150th anniversary, I asked them to come up with responses to the tube network as it is today, both good and bad.

Rachel Singer and Oliver St John (pictured below) came up with the idea of an Amrpit Map, handily positioned in the armpit of a coat so that travellers could consult it on a packed train.


Staying with ideas about knowledge of the network, Harriet Jowitt proposed a series of posters which would test travellers’ ability to identify the correct colour of each line:


Most Londoners and visitors are familiar with the ‘please mind the gap between the train and the platform edge’ warning that comes over the PA at certain stations, but just how much of a gap is there to mind? George Newton and Lucy Sansom decided to find out. They photographed the gaps along the length of each line and mapped the results graphically, the length of the aforementioned phrase indicating the relative size of the gap: here’s the Bakerloo


Davide Santi-Brooks and Eivind Reibo Jentoft loooked at the sometimes insanitary nature of tube carriages. “A constant worry in the back of our minds whilst travelling underground is hygiene,” they say. “In a response to this concern, we have exposed what really lies beneath the iconic fabrics of the underground carriages. Our patterns reveal the various forms of microscopic life which commute daily, unnoticed.”

Their proposed new versions of the tube upholstery’s famous moquette patterns feature some of the bacteria and substances sometimes found on the seats, eg Bascillus


and, er, human sperm


Sophie Both Turner also had hygiene worries, reminding us that sometimes the tube is ‘Snot healthy’


Mollie Courtenay suggests using moving image ad sites on escalators to promote more considerate use of persoanl stereos


And, finally, two ideas concerning the Metro free newspaper. “The London Underground is an experience that places us side by side, yet we barely interact. Little has been done in the way of utilising this communal experience,” say Sara Azmy and Tasha Thomas. “MET-ROLL works in creating a situation where you have to work together, generating conversation and encouraging positive social interaction.”

Here’s a demo version they tested


And Jack Mercer has an idea for the waeary traveller –  copy of the paper which also doubles as a pillow. Here he is testing the idea

The April print issue of CR presents the work of three young animators and animation teams to watch. Plus, we go in search of illustrator John Hanna, test out the claims of a new app to have uncovered the secrets of viral ad success and see how visual communications can both help keep us safe and help us recover in hospital

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