The first three chapters of the part Details of Ilya Birman’s Designing Transit Maps are out

February 10, 2024
The chapters about the design details of individual lines, bundles of several lines running in parallel, and how to bends the lines

The first three chapters of the part Details of Ilya Birman’s Designing Transit Maps are out. The chapters are ‘Lines’, ‘Bundles’, and ‘Bends’.

The book speaks of transit maps history, important principles of their design, and how they evolve together with their networks. The author talks about techniques: plotting the lines, denoting the stops, choosing the fonts, and composing the final poster.

Few designers have an occasion to design a subway map. But the principles and techniques discussed are applicable to any tasks of complex information display: org charts, family trees, control‑flow diagrams, fire escape plans, military operation plans, project timelines, architectural drawings. The book sharpens the reader’s eye and inculcates attention to detail.


Routes on a map are represented with lines. The designer adjusts their thickness, style, sometimes even pattern. This is especially difficult when you need to show several modes of transportation or features of certain routes, such as sections under construction. It is important not to overthink it: the more complex the system of designations, the more explanations are needed and the more difficult it is to use the map.


When several routes have a common section, lines on a map can run in a bundle. Bundles pose questions for the designer: how to make individual lines in a bundle legible, how not to ruin a bundle when lines leave it, how to bundle lines of different thickness or style. In the chapter “Bundles” Ilya answers these questions and offers useful tricks with line colors and patterns, with their arrangement in a bundle.


Turns on a map must be smooth and clearly visible, and their roundings must be harmonized with each other. To harmonize does not mean to make them the same everywhere. In this chapter, Ilya shows how to choose the shape of a rounding in different cases and how to draw eye‑pleasing and natural curves in Illustrator.

Sample chapter

The chapter ‘Bends’ is available for free. In the chapter Ilya Birman shows good and bad ways to bend the lines, introduces the bend visibility principle, talks about harmonizing the bends in line bundles.


Preorder is available as before and you can start reading the book right now. If you choose to subscribe to the book before it’s fully published, you will get 2 extra months free. Your official subscription time hasn’t started ticking yet⁠—we’ll start your subscription clock later. The book is being published in parts, and the readers still have their paid year plus 2 months as a gift.

Gift and special price

By the way, you can gift a subscription to any Bureau Gorbunov book to someone you know. When you give the book as a gift, you pay for the year of subscription and will not have any additional charges. The person will receive a congratulatory notification about your gift to them. When their subscription runs out, they will be able to use their bank card to renew the subscription for a reduced fee. Delight your friends, colleagues, and anybody who’s curious.

Also, a special price is available to Bureau Gorbunov Publishing subscribers. To use the special price, sign in using the address you used to subscribe to any of the other books.

Now is a good time to subscribe and gift the subscription to your friends.