In this gorgeously illustrated collection of airline route maps, Mark Ovenden and Maxwell Roberts look to the skies and transport readers to another time. Hundreds of images span a century of passenger flight, from the rudimentary trajectory of routes to the most intricately detailed birds-eye views of the land to be flown over. Advertisements for the first scheduled commercial passenger flights featured only a few destinations, with stunning views of the countryside and graphics of biplanes. As aviation took off, speed and mileage were trumpeted on bold posters featuring busy routes. Major airlines produced highly stylized illustrations of their global presence, establishing now-classic brands. With trendy and forward-looking designs, cartographers celebrated the coming together of different cultures and made the earth look ever smaller.
Eventually, fleets got bigger and routes multiplied, and graphic designers have found creative new ways to display huge amounts of information. Airline hubs bring their own cultural mark and advertise their plentiful destination options. Innovative maps depict our busy world with webs of overlapping routes and networks of low-cost city-to-city hopping. But though flying has become more commonplace, Ovenden and Roberts remind us that early air travel was a glamorous affair for good reason. Airline Maps is a celebration of graphic design, cartographic skills and clever marketing, and a visual feast that reminds us to enjoy the journey as much as the destination.
The book doesn't just expose some striking pieces of creativity, it also reflects on changing attitudes towards air travel - and how design shaped that - as well as the ways developments in technology moved things forward...Airline Maps also works simply as a visual record, with enough design nostalgia to earn it a place on the coffee table or in the studio bookshelf.