I generally try to keep things here reasonably positive(well… at least I steer clear of the ad hominem), but I was doing research for a post on the planned August service changes when I came across this little stunner on SORTA’s site:
This thing warrants analysis as a work of bad design.
It hurts my eyes. This. Hurts. My. Eyes.
SORTA, I love you like a member of the family(one who happens to be a transit agency) but his thing should not have left the engineering department’s breakroom. This has no redeeming qualities as a map, as advertising for our city’s transit system, or even for simply illustrating the service changes you have planned as I assume was intended.
The only information this actually conveys is a list of lines that will go to the Glenway Crossing Transit Center, and that could have been conveyed…
…wait for it…
in a list.
Which it was:
So this wasn’t even a matter of really needing a map to explain something and just not having the time to do it right. This is a case of someone bad at design going above and beyond to represent their agency (poorly).
SORTA, I know y’all say you only have so much time/resources, but please consider hiring a designer and upgrading to at least the latest version of MS Paint. I know it’s hard sometimes, but you just can’t leave the house dressed like this. I was at DAAPworks this week, and I can tell you for certain that there are a LOT of very good designers(and even cartographers) in this city. Hire one.
Here’s a great example in the same general style from a graduating graphic artist:
It’s got a few of it’s own little problems but it’s still a thousand times better as design. It makes me want to look at it. My experience at DAAP tells me this person is probably about to either leave the city for a decent job somewhere or stay here for one in food-service. Just hire them, SORTA. They’ll appreciate it and you’ll get more than your money’s worth.
Now, I’m not just being a smartass here; this kind of thing is a big reason why many people don’t use transit1. They see this:
and compared to even this:
There is just no competition at all. Hands down, transit loses the fight for people’s hearts. Cars are sexier. I’m saying that and I totally hate cars. I gag every time I see a car commercial but I still know they’re doing so much better at appealing to people. How could anyone ever think of using transit when it looks like it doesn’t even take itself seriously?
And just to be super fair because those are different things:
Transit is still losing. If a car company ever put out a piece of design like this map/graphic/thing in connection with any of their products, I guarantee someone would get fired. Rightly so.
Transit needs to up it’s game.
It’s time for a makover, SORTA. I want to get you laid!