These beautiful websites exhibit how typography can drive designs. In this showcase, you’ll find fascinating and unapologetically bold implementations of typographic elements.
Designing metro transit route maps is possibly one of the most challenging graphic design jobs one can have. These maps need to be legible, communicative, and almost universal — especially if designing for one of the world’s most visited and travelled cities. If you’ve ever travelled to a foreign city and have had to use their subways, you’ll know how important these route maps can be to getting around.
The subway maps we chose are from some of the world’s busiest cities with extensive subways and rail systems. Check them out and let us know what you think in the comments section. Click on the images to view them in full size.
Chicago, IL – USA
Being Chicagoans ourselves, Chicago’s “L” (short for “elevated”) transit system holds a special place in our hearts. While not entirely “underground,” the “L” offers some of the city’s best views and a truly fantastic way to experience Chicago.
New York City, NY – USA
The New York subway system is perhaps one of the most iconic in the world. New Yorkers will always have a story to tell about it and the rest of the world will always listen intently.
Moscow – Russia
Moscow is often thought to be one of the most beautiful underground systems in the world.
Madrid – Spain
The Madrid Metro is another beautiful underground transit system. It is also one of the longest underground metros in the world.
Paris – France
The Paris Metro is dense. It covers just 40 squares miles with 132 miles of tracks and a whopping 245 stations. With such a complicated network under the streets of Paris, having a fantastic route map is definitely essential.
Tokyo’s subways are surprisingly easy to navigate despite the intimidating language barrier. This subway route map looks complicated but with punctual trains and an organized subway rider population, navigating through Tokyo isn’t hard at all.
The London Undergroud or the “Tube” is another fantastically complicated subway system. Thanks to its subway map, however, it’s easy to get from point A to point B.
Berlin is Germany’s capital and its cultural center and it has a subway system to match.
Tell us what you think in the comments below.
rel="nofollow" attribute to a link informs search engines that the link is commercial in nature, or that it’s a link you don’t endorse.
Links that have the the
rel="nofollow" attribute are often called nofollow links.
Just so we’re on the same page, here’s an example of a link that uses the
<a rel="nofollow" href="http://example.com">nofollow link</a>
The concept behind nofollow links came about in 2005, as a way of discouraging comment spam in blogs.
You might already know this if you’re familiar with SEO: One of the factors search engines take into account when ranking a website is the number of other websites linking to it (referred to as the site’s inbound links).
If there are many links from other sites pointing to your site, and those other sites are reputable, then there’s a good chance your site is also reputable.
To artificially boost their clients’ search engine rankings, spammers will try to place as many links as they can on other websites. An easy target for spammers are the "comments" sections of reputable blogs.
To help address the spam issue, the
rel="nofollow" attribute was introduced.
The thinking went like this: If comment spammers didn’t get credit for their nofollow links, then they’d be less likely to waste their time posting those links on blogs.
Today, the purpose of
rel="nofollow" has evolved slightly. It’s now also supposed to be used on links that are commercial/for-profit in nature. Links that fall into this category are:
- paid links
- banner ads
- sponsored content
- text link ads
- affiliate links
rel="nofollow" attribute started off as a microformat. However, the HTML attribute is now in the latest W3C HTML specification, in section 220.127.116.11 Link type “nofollow”.
Here’s how the attribute should be used in accordance to specs:
nofollowkeyword indicates that the link is not endorsed by the original author or publisher of the page, or that the link to the referenced document was included primarily because of a commercial relationship between people affiliated with the two pages.4.8 Links — HTML5
So, When Should You Use rel="nofollow"?
Based on the specs, the two cases in which you should use
- When the link is something you don’t/can’t endorse
- When the link is primarily commercial in nature
Let’s talk about these two cases.
Links You Don’t Endorse
A typical example of a link you can’t endorse is one that was placed on your site by someone else.
For example, if you have a blog, the comments on your blog are posted by your readers. Those comments often contain links. It’s not practical to review each and every link commenters post on your site. Using the
rel="nofollow" attribute in the "comments" section of your blog essentially tells search engines, “Hey, I haven’t reviewed, and therefore can’t vouch for, any of the links you find here.”
That’s why, by default, WordPress (1.5 and above) automatically sets the
rel="nofollow" attribute on user-generated links in the "comments" sections of WordPress-powered sites.
Wikipedia uses the
rel="nofollow" attribute on all external links. Wikipedia can be edited by anyone. And because of the sheer volume of content on the site, it’s not practical for Wikipedia to verify, review, and endorse each and every external link posted on their site. So Wikipedia decided to categorically assign the
rel="nofollow" attribute on all external links, much like how WordPress categorically assigns the attribute on all external links it finds in the "comments" section.
On Wikipedia, notice how an external link that goes to w3.org — which you and I know is a pretty reputable site — is a nofollow link.
On Reddit, new link submissions are nofollow.
What’s interesting with Reddit’s implementation is that when an external link has been voted to the front page of the site, its
rel="nofollow" attribute is removed.
Reddit’s system of assigning
rel="nofollow" attributes is clever because it’s democratic. Reddit makes the hypothesis that if a submitted link gets the required votes needed to propel itself to the site’s front page, then it must mean enough people have reviewed the trustworthiness of the link, and thus the link’s
rel="nofollow" attribute can be safely dropped.
Links That Are Commercial in Nature (Paid Links)
When a link exists on your site primarily for profit, it should be assigned a
Simply put: If you publish paid advertisements on your site — banner ads, text links, sponsored content, affiliate links, etc. — the links going to your advertisers’ sites should be nofollow.
This is one way to discourage any site from trying to buy its way into better search rankings by paying other sites for links.
Why Use rel="nofollow"?
rel="nofollow" attribute benefits third-party services most. Search engines, for example, can use the information we give them about links on our site as a clue that certain links might be low-quality, or commercial in nature, or both. They can then use this knowledge to improve the quality of their search results for their users.
So what’s in it for us?
By disclosing which links on our site have been paid for and which ones haven’t been reviewed, we can reduce the chances of search engines penalizing our site for publishing low-quality external links.
It’s reasonable to assume that by diligently assigning the
rel="nofollow" attribute on our unverified, untrusted, and paid links we can improve our website’s SEO, and our website’s trustworthiness as a source of quality content.
Learn More About Nofollow Links
10 SEO Tips to Remember When Building Your Site
What Potential Impact Can HTML5 Have on SEO?
Fine-Tuning WordPress for SEO
While the design and art industries have quickly skewed towards the digital realms in the last couple of decades, that doesn’t mean printed work is down for the count. On the contrary, there’s just something about feeling a page in your hands and seeing a clear un-pixelated image or smelling the printer’s inks that will always be better than having a tablet or computer. No matter what happens with tech in the future, a real-life book will always have a place in the world.
Design books or art books or coffee table books — as some might refer to them — are especially fantastic. Here are a few reasons why you should start a book collection now!
1) High Production Values
Publishers of design books are notorious for their attention to detail and extremely high production values. Everything from the binding, the paper, the print finishes, and the layouts are all carefully and methodically put together to produce an extremely satisfying work of art.
Of course, sometimes these beautifully produced books come with a matching price tag like this $100, 16-pound Helmut Newton photobook:
but you often get what you pay for.
Also, having access to such beautiful materials is also a fantastic way to appreciate and learn about print design.
2) A “New” Way of Experiencing Your Favorite Designers’ and Artists’ Work
The internet is great. It has enabled us to connect, learn, communicate, and express ourselves like never before — all through our computer screens.
For a lot of us today, the internet is the only way we’ve been able to experience the work of our favorite artists and designers. Having access to art books or coffee table books (while based on more traditional media), however, offers a “new” way of experiencing the work you’ve admired through the internet for so long.
If you’ve never seen a designer’s work in anything but a computer screen, you might want to try getting one of their books.
I’ve never seen a real Ansel Adams photo even though I consider him to be one of the reason I wanted to be a photographer. This book might just be the next best thing.
3) Books Last
If you take care of them, your books can last a very, very long time. Digital resources, on the other hand, can get corrupted or they can fail for no reason whatsoever. This means that work of designers and artists that we all enjoy online on our computers are effectively impermanent. They’re only as good as the hard drives they’re stored on.
Printed works, on the other hand, allow you to appreciate and marvel at the work of designers and artists you admire, indefinitely.
Bought in 2008, holds up extremely well.
4) Inspiration at Your Fingertips
We can do hours and hours of research online and sometimes still come up with no new ideas. However, taking a little bit of time to look at a few books in the office gives us a sudden burst of energy.
There’s just something very stimulating about seeing works of art printed on a nicely done book. Reading a passage, feeling the paper, smelling the inks, and flipping through the pages of a book is an experience you just can’t get anywhere else. After a little while with your design books, your mind starts to race and suddenly you’ve got new ideas brewing in your head.
I bought this book years ago and I still flip through it today.
5) They’re Really fun.
Finally, design books are just fun. They’re fun to have. They’re fun to read; to look at; to talk about. And they often explore new ideas in very concrete and meaningful ways that just can’t be done on any other medium.
The truth is, this article is somewhat of a love letter to the printed word and the printed image. Nowadays, anyone with access to the internet has access to a very large collection of knowledge and data. With enough of the right keywords, one can gain access to a whole lot of stuff. There’s definitely value in that.
However, a book is a much more grounded object. It exists physically and can be felt and experienced as it is, on its own. There’s a sense of finality to a book. Once it is published, it is done. There are no search engine algorithms; no updates over wifi; no loading times; no revisions. It takes commitment and conviction to publish a book — typos and all. And that really is one of the best things about them.
Tell us about your favorite design and art coffee table books in the comments below.
Do you want to produce more in less time? These free ebooks contain a wealth of insights, tips, and strategies for achieving high levels of productivity.
Here are some excellent one-page / single-page websites to check out. There are a variety of website types included in this showcase — online portfolios, restaurants, mobile apps, and more. I hope looking at these one-page sites will give you ideas and inspiration for your web design projects.