Top 5: Tube Map Covers

Last year saw the 150th anniversary of the London Underground, the world’s oldest underground transport system! As a belated celebration I am declaring May ‘Tube Month’. I am busy with final year exams and coursework so there will just be a couple of posts celebrating art on the underground.


Regular commuters in London will recognise most of this top 5, however you are unlikely to have seen ‘The Hole of London 2014’ by Rachel Whiteread as it isn’t due on platforms until this coming Friday. Transport for London have been working with top artists to produce the covers since 2004. They need to be simple and attractive like the iconic map inside. Whiteread’s cover will be the 20th of which 12 million copies will be produced – free art for tourists and commuters!


As I said, the designs are often simple.


Many of them feature the twelve colours of the 12 lines, Liam Gillick’s ‘The Day Before’ spells out the date of the last day when London didn’t have an underground, tenuous perhaps.



Mona Hatoum’s cover celebrates the multicultural diversity of London.



Mark Wallinger titled his cover ‘Going Underground’ a plays on the title of The Jam’s chart topping 1980 single. The RAF symbol also adopted by mods is symbolic of London and Britain. The logo also bears a resemblance to the iconic Underground roundel.


The next image isn’t actually a produced cover. It is a concept by Yoni Alter designed for the period in 2012 when London hosted the Olympic Games.



At the top I have chosen Whiteread’s cover. I really like the little glimpses brining together all of London.


If you are in London in the next few months expect to see it.

You can see all 20 covers here. Let me know if you have a different favourite!

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One final cover; this is what tube maps looked like in 1908.


Mona Hatoum
Liam Gillick
The Hole of London 2014
The Hole of London 2014

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