Graphic Designer Peter Dovak Draws Metro Systems in Miniature

What do you get when you cross a transport fan with a graphic designer? The answer is American designer Peter Dovak‘s wonderful Mini Metro series. Peter has always loved transit, and has been a self-described “casual artist” since his high school years; it only seemed natural to turn his creative skills onto that theme. The result is the fantastic series of small and simplified maps of over 200 metro and light rail systems from around the world.

paris
Paris

beijing
Beijing

chicago
Chicago

The idea began after Peter tried to make an iPhone app a few years ago, and found that he enjoyed creating tiny icons of maps for navigating systems in the app. The idea took off, and soon he was creating hundreds of the intricate rail representations. All of the maps have the same requirements, fitting in a 120px circle with 3px wide lines. Many cities are difficult to fit within these strictures, but Peter relishes the challenge. Some of the most difficult cities to design include the Seoul, Tokyo and Paris metro systems.

The series has charmed a wide audience, and he has been featured on blogs, transit agencies and more. People love the beautifully elegant representations of the places they live. There is something very unanimous about a city’s transport system, thus broadening the appeal of his designs. Colourful and striking, the series has a real sense of fun to it.

minimetros

We spoke to Paul, to find out more about his love of rendering rail systems in miniature.

The Plus: What is it about transit that so captures your imagination?
Peter Dovak:
I’m really not sure! My father was a big rail fan, and I got my love of trains from him. I don’t know how it evolved into a love of public transportation, but it’s just very fascinating to me.

TP: How do you choose which elements you want to reduce the map to?
PD:
I based each map off of the official transit maps, when possible, and kept it as recognizable as I could. It was a matter of simplifying lines when they were too curvy, combining lines that were parallel, etc.

washington
Washington

TP: What was the first map you designed?
PD:
The first I made was Washington DC. After that, I tried New York, because I knew it would be challenging.

TP: Which cities presented the greatest difficulties, and why?
PD:
New York was probably the most difficult. Its official map is geographic, which made it very difficult to simplify. It was a great challenge to keep it recognizable at a very small size, but I’m happy with how it came out.

frankfurt
Frankfurt



TP: What was your favourite city to design?
PD:
All of the complex cities were very fun to make – Seoul, Tokyo, London, Paris.

TP: Finally, what lies ahead?
PD:
It is hard to say, at this point! Since this is a hobby, it depends on how much time I have, and currently I am very busy. I am always working on something, but it’s hard to know what ones will get finished.

Check out more below and find your city!

newyork
New York

boston
Boston

delhi
Delhi

london
London

istanbul
Istanbul

milan
Milan

mexicocity
Mexico City

berlin
Berlin

munich
Munich

vienna
Vienna

tokyo
Tokyo

taipei
Taipei

singapore
Singapore

shenzhen
Shenzhen

shanghai
Shanghai

seoul
Seoul

santiago
Santiago

osaka
Osaka

stpetersberg
Saint Petersburg

nagoya
Nagoya

moscow
Moscow

losangeles
Los Angeles

cologne
Cologne

chongqing
Chongqing

buenosaires
Buenos Aires

hongkong
Hong Kong

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