New York, NY

The Works: Anatomy of a City

Designing the story of a city Kate Ascher’s lavishly illustrated book examines the infrastructure of New York: how the subways run, where sewage goes, how cellular service works, why those crosswalk buttons never seem to operate, what’s considered “the Avenue of Death.”

And what’s a hump yard, anyway?

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To create this extraordinary book, we worked with Kate Ascher in reviewing her research material. She’d spent years assembling a wealth of information, prepared in meticulously organized binders.

We initially prepared a rough layout of every page and illustration (over 140 in all) so that the author could write the text to correspond to the imagery.

We then worked with our assembled team of designers and illustrators and, over the course of six hectic months, produced what we consider to be a once-in-a-lifetime project.

The various types of data in the book afforded us the opportunity to explore a wide range of data visualization techniques.
The Works was featured as one of’s top ten nonfiction books of the year.


Alexander Isley
George Kokkinidis

Illustration Wrangler
Roger Garbow

Special Collections Research Center
NC State University Libraries