7. The 1972 Subway Map was the First Time Vignelli Used Helvetica in any NYCTA Publications

Map from MTA

Although Helvetica was widely used in many of Vignelli’s work, he did not use it on any NYCTA designs until the controversial subway map in 1972. When Vignelli designed the subway map, he has already left Unimark to set up Vignelli Associates with his wife, Lella. Since he was no longer bounded by any of the decisions previously made, it was no surprise that he naturally gravitated towards Helvetica, his favored typeface.

The introduction of the subway map and a misinformed article was the reason most people assumed Vignelli was the sole contributor to bringing Helvetica and NYCTA together.