Before we had memes, alteration of images as social commentary was left to artists. In 1991, London Transport granted a licence to a young artist, Simon Patterson, that would not only explode into the art scene but would also inspire a trend that is still thriving over twenty years later. Patterson, then at university, created the now infamous ‘The Great Bear’ – a visually identical tube map with station names replaced by those of famous people plotted along themed lines. Though it was not the first time the London tube map had been recreated in such a fashion, it was surprising how well it was received by the public. Thanks to ‘The Great Bear’, TfL commissioned an official series of alternate maps including ‘The Underground Film Map’ (below) with BFI in 2010. Less official recreations can be found all over the internet, but we’ve compiled a few of our favourites. Carly-Ann Clements
Underground Film Map
An alternative Tube poster celebrating 70 years of fim shot on location at or near London’s Underground station.
DMC ‘roots’ t-shirt
This complicated, music inspired, reinvention of the tube map was found in Guns for Fun in Notting Hill. Once again, it is proving that the iconic symbols and design of the Underground Map is unmistakable. The shirt can also be purchased here.
Tron Tube Map by iamclu
In a different twist to the trend, imaclu merged the iconic map with the iconic colouring of the famous ’80s film ‘Tron’ in time for the release of ‘Tron Legacy’ in 2010.
Transit Maps of the World
This e-card showing all the cities in the world that have, are working on or planning an urban railway was used to promote the book ‘Transit Maps of the World’ by Mark Ovenden. This image takes a skewed image of the London Underground Map and creates a beautiful global map.
‘The Great Bear’ and Underground Film Map can be viewed at the Mind the Map exhibition at the London Transport Museum.