I’ve been looking at how to design maps, and how their design changes depending on their purpose. Here’s a few I thought were interesting.
It’s functional, there’s no denying that.
This map of Africa serves its purpose. I think that’s all that can really be said of it. It’s clean, it gets its points across, it doesn’t mess about. We know exactly what it is, how it works and it gives us the information ina straightforward way… It relays information, and that’s it. It’s a relatively interesting infographic, but there’s not much design to it, nothing that makes it special.
Crude as they come.
Once again, this image serves its purpose. It makes you think, but the only information here is what is provided. “There are more people here than anywhere else in the world, combined.” Yes. But it doesn’t give us anything else, like comparable statistics. There are no other circles, no other pieces of information given, not even the area of the circle. It’s functionality at its most base.
Home of Television!
This one is a bit more fun. There’s some design elements to it, it’s got some information on it, but it’s also more considered. Even the basic colour palette is more appealing than the others. We’re starting to get somewhere. I enjoyed looking at this and seeing where TV shows are in relation to others. The serif font in the title compared to the sans serif in the information bars, the swatch, even the location icons are more interesting than the previous maps. I think this is a nice piece of design, if not complicated. But arguably, maps shouldn’t be complicated, they should serve a purpose. I am of the mind that, like this one, maps can be functional and still look attractive. Like any good piece of design.
This map is interactive, and so needs to be viewed on the site. This is employing a little more creative input; not only interpreting American states are Sports, and thus conveying information as a unique understand of that information, but it is also clickable, leading to links about each state. There are nice illustrations, it is a lot more fun to interact with. It is also, however, more confusing, potentially. It is a lot busier than the TV map, and could be seen as a bit daunting. Then again, it does impart a lot more region specific information without getting too text heavy on the initial map, like the TV map risks doing.
And finally: http://maphugger.com/
Oh, maphugger. I think I love this website. I have started following them on tumblr based solely on this exercise. It shows a range of maps with a range of graphic styles, different types of information conveyed and how they are displayed in each one. I think I will be creating a static map, that is to say, not interactive, however I don’t want it to come across as too frightening. How can I do this? What graphics styles can I employ? I have something in mind, but it never hurts to do a little more research.
For now, it is good to have this knowledge and these reference points.