The Current metro card design in use throughout NYC

My Concepts

When designing something that millions of people might use every day, it must be intuitive and legible. Especially in such a diverse city, the MetroCard is a tool whose considerations must include those with visual impairments (such as color blindness) as well as language barriers and foreign sensibilities.

Two of my redesign concepts rendered into a mockup


In this first version, I tried to stay closely aligned with the original, tweaking only minor cosmetic details such as reversing the MTA logo. A faint background illustration watermarks the card while also underlining the text, and shadows have been added for increased depth.


Continuing with the first approach of maintaining the original layout, I attempted a slightly retro-look with a silhouetted NYC skyline as a relief background. Again the MetroCard style and typeface remains consistent with people's familiarity, offering only a minor palette refresh.


Abandoning all previous guidelines, this concept attempts to re-interpret the core brand of the MetroCard with a new type treatment and background illustration. The division of space underscores which end of the card should be inserted, adding to its utility. 


This minimalist approach is both visually efficient and ink-economical (many millions are printed each year). Simpler design requirements can also leverage more sustainable textiles and manufacturing. The dots are the specific colors of NYC’s main subway lines. 


This ink-efficient, two-color design presents a nighttime rendering of the New York City skyline in stark contrast with the MTA symbol standing in for the moon. One benefit of a darker metro card, given its frequent use, is that is shows less wear and tear than a brighter card.


This impressionistic concept both reverent and a return to conservative use of ink and paper for something that sees millions of prints each year. The MTA logo is colored and positioned as a rising sun, adding to a bright, optimistic motif.


This design emphasizes the direction in which the card is swiped, with the official NYC subway dots along the top. The premature cropping of the word "CARD" aims to strike a balance of intrigue and legibility, drawing the eye and encouraging closer scrutiny. 



The first of a series of photo experiments, this seasonal concept reflects a wide variety of NYC scenery, supported by a modern, minimalistic treatment.