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"Paris vs. New York": The History of Two Cultures As Told By Illustrations


A graphic contest sets the two most iconic cities in the world side by side.

Paris and New York have always been two of the most stimulating cities in the world. Both have well defined identities and their socio-cultural behaviors easily stand out from any other city in the world. Since the beginning of the 20th century, their comparison has been constant and has placed them on the same level as unmatched destinations. In 1914 Anaïs Nin, who was taken from one to other by her mother, wrote:

New York is the very opposite of Paris. People’s last concern is with intimacy. No attention is given to friendship and its development. Nothing is done to soften the harshness of life itself.

In Paris, when entering a room, everyone pays attention, seeks to make you feel welcome, to enter into conversation, is curious, responsive. Here [New York] it seems everyone is pretending not to see, hear, or look too intently. The faces reveal no interest, no responsiveness.

Overtones are missing. Relationships seem impersonal and everyone conceals his secret life, whereas in Paris it was the exciting substance of our talks, intimate revelations and sharing of experience.

Although this opinion may be biased due to her unwillingness to leave Paris, this is one of the first testimonies, and perhaps the most articulate, on the parallelism between these two great metropolises.

Today, nearly a hundred years after Nin’s diary was written, graphic designer Vahram Muratyan has created a correspondence between the cities in the form of a “friendly graphic contest” of minimalist illustrations placed side by side.

Hipster vs. bobo, Proust vs. Salinger, Godard vs. Woody Allen: Muraytan captures the most iconic figures of these two cities that have always been both united —and separated— by their proliferation of genius and trends. Paris vs. New York, in its playfulness, is a brilliant example of minimal graphic design. A fun series that has evinced icons that have earned these two cities of light their personalities.

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