Last week Metro announced that it would be redesigning the system's iconic station map. The agency had focus groups look at 11 possible mockups to figure out what riders look for in a map, and it's bringing in Lance Wyman, the creator of the original design, to give it a fresh, updated look.
When that news first broke, Kytja Weir, the Examiner's Metro reporter, tweeted a great question: Why not have a contest to determine the best design?
Well, as many readers of this blog know, that isn't really how Metro does things.
But it's definitely how they do things over at Greater Greater Washington, which announced a map-making contest this morning. The rules are fairly lax: Just stick to the typical colors, use the current station names, and include the soon-to-come Silver Line. The posting doesn't mention a prize, which makes total sense: The enjoyment derived from creating a map is the greatest prize a map nerd can receive. So if you think you're better than Lance Wyman, give it a shot.
And rest assured that Greater Greater Washington's map contest will be a more open process than Metro's. When I called Lance Wyman on Friday, the artist (kindly) referred all questions on the redesign to Metro spokespeople. And when I asked a Metro spokesperson if I could see the maps used in the focus groups, I was told to submit a freedom of information request for them. So, yes, even publicly funded map mockups are kept under close watch at that agency. I was slightly annoyed by this but not at all surprised.