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Samsung reimagines the London Underground map in new campaign

For the first time in 90 years, London’s public transport map has been redesigned. The circular layout was put forward by Samsung in promotion of a new feature on its Galaxy S24 smartphone.

Although the vast majority of Londoners will have at least partially memorised the city’s public transport map, visitors and newcomers to the UK’s capital city might find its spiderweb design a little overwhelming.

Regardless, it’s remained unchanged for almost a century. The Underground map was designed by Harry Beck back in 1933 and has only been altered to include extensions of existing lines and the addition of new ones, such as the Elizabeth line just over a year ago.

Over the next two weeks though, city-dwellers may spot a new version of this map dotted around stations in Central London including King’s Cross, Blackfriars, Westminster, Liverpool Street, and Paddington.

The map’s traditional web-like shape has been reimagined into a circle as part of Samsung’s promotional campaign for a new feature on its smartphone, the Galaxy S24.

While some people may believe you ‘shouldn’t fix what’s not broken,’ the new and unofficial design has been praised on social media by those who’ve spotted it. They say the functional design, which shows all 11 underground lines in a circle shape, is arguably clearer than the normal map.

The new map, which is reportedly only temporary, was created to celebrate the launch of Samsung’s Circle to Search feature created in collaboration with Google.

Circle to Search is a new tool on the Galaxy S24 device which allows users to instantly search anything they see displayed on the screen without switching apps. Using their finger, users can circle the name of a dish or product on social media and be automatically directed to an online recipe or webshop where they can purchase items.

Samsung's London Tube redesigned map will appear at five stations for a limited time | Evening Standard

Integrating consumerism with the public sphere has been happening with increasing frequency in London.

Last year, TfL allowed Burberry to change Bond Street’s name to ‘Burberry Street’ during fashion week, sparking confusion amongst locals and tourists alike. Still, it doesn’t look like these collaborations will come to a halt anytime soon.

Emma Strain, Customer Director at Transport for London (TfL) said: ‘We’re delighted to partner with Samsung on this exciting reimagining of our iconic map for the first time in 90 years. Partnerships like this help us and brands engage with hundreds of thousands of people who pass through our stations every day.’

At least this time, the functionality of the map – and the name of stations – isn’t completely lost on the marketing tactics of large companies.