Acclaimed British artist Richard Long designed the 11th Tube Map cover. Entitled Earth, it shows the different colours of the Tube lines stacked on top of each other, with the black grid between them referencing the Northern line. The image echoes the format of an I Ching hexagram symbolising Earth, a figure composed of six stacked horizontal lines from the ancient Chinese Book of Changes. The philosophies of the I Ching recur in Long’s work.
The choice of the Earth symbol for the Tube map is an obvious one for Long, whose work always involves an exploration of the earth’s surface, time, distance, geography, measurement and movement. These connect with the I Ching’s ideas about the dynamic balance of opposites and acceptance of the inevitability of change.
With Earth, Long hoped to encourage passengers to think beyond their fast-paced London journeys. Responding to the recent print giveaway, one London Underground customer said: “It takes you away from your day-to-day world and delivers you to another, to your imagination” and another commented, “It brings a little magic to the commute”.