The Map of New York design community – New York Design Agenda


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The Map of New York design community
The Map of New York design community

New York creative agency Athletics and the Cooper Union’s Herb Lubalin Study Centre are launching an exhibition mapping New York’s graphic design community, inspired by urban planner Kevin Lynch’s 1960 study The Image of the City.

Image of the Studio, which opens next week, will feature original work and studio portraits from more than 75 design studios, as well as infographics addressing what graphic design in New York looks like and how living and working in the city affects contemporary studio practice.


The project was inspired by Lynch’s five year study of how we perceive urban landscapes: examining people in Boston, New Jersey and LA, he concluded that we make sense of our surroundings by forming mental maps of five elements: paths (sidewalks and streets), edges (perceived boundaries such as buildings and shorelines), districts (sections defined by a particular character, nodes (focal points) and landmarks. That’s an important part of New York City’s landscape.

Lynch is widely credited with introducing the terms wayfinding and imageability and his research on the importance of visual communications has had a significant impact on urban planning.

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“Image of the City was a crucial inspiration in that it helped us frame the nature of graphic design within the parameters of NYC. The idea of cognitive mapping – of a mental representation – was the basis of how we approached the exhibition to try to grasp a sense of the whole graphic design community,” explains Athletics co-founder Matt Owens, who curated the show with colleague Allison Connell and Herb Lubalin Centre curator Alexander Tochilovsky.

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Infographics featured in the show are based on the results of an online questionnaire filled out by participating studios in June, documenting the history and culture of each company. Athletics has also arranged a series of accompanying talks, debates and studio tours, looking at design in five New York boroughs. After the exhibition, submitted work will be archived at the centre and uploaded to

“After the panel, we discussed with Alexander the unique dialogue that occurs when fellow designers are face to face, exchanging opinions and professional experiences, as well as how the notion of the design studio changes across people, technology, time and culture.” says Owens.

“I have long been thinking of a way to shed more light on the design studio model, especially as a teacher. For students, there is a lot of mystery to the way studios operate or how they began,” adds Tochilovsky. “I’ve also been curious to see more of designers’ faces – not many show portraits of themselves on their websites.” he adds.




This a very insightfull work for NYC Design Community. Hope it brought some light on this matter.

Explore our pinterest boards for more inspirations about the amazing New York City and also about NYC’s events, arts and even design world.

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