Henry C. Beck

(1903—1974) graphic artist and map designer

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Beck is most widely known for his landmark design of the London Underground map (1931–3) which, with some modifications for new lines and stations, still forms the basis of the design in use in the early 21st century. The clarity of its visual organization through the use of colour-coded lines has subsequently influenced the design of urban transport maps in many countries of the world. Beck worked on variations to the map until 1959 but after the construction of the Victoria Line all of his subsequent proposals were turned down. Beck's designs complemented Edward Johnston's elegant, crisp, and extremely legible Railway typeface for London Underground signage, first introduced in 1916, as well as other aspects of London Transport's modern corporate identity established by Frank Pick in the 1920s and 1930s, including street furniture and stations by Charles Holden.

From A Dictionary of Modern Design in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.

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