We pride ourselves on our skills in cartography. With 45 years experience in map design we are sure that we can provide all clients with mapping that they will be proud to use.
You can read further information about our basic principles in map design below.
Defining the purpose of the map
The cartographer’s first step is to identify the purpose and audience of the map as this will determine what map elements are included, how the information is portrayed and the general layout and format of the map. How the map is used is also a key consideration, for example, web mapping, printed mapping and mapping for mobile phones all have their own particular design implications.
Choosing a map type
Once cartographers know what they want to show on a map, they must decide which map type. There are many different general designs of maps such as reference, topographic, general or thematic maps, each of which has its advantages and disadvantages in communicating the map’s purpose to its readers.
Hierarchy and clarity
One of the main objectives of good cartographic design is that important features must look important and visually stand out against lesser features. What is important in a map and the maps purpose should have already been defined, the cartographer now needs to ensure the design will enable the reader to focus immediately on the important information without being distracted by other features.
Great design and clarity tends towards simplicity and so the choice of what information and detail to include on the map is important. More information may mean the map has a wider use but less focused. The cartographer can employ techniques to simplify, generalise, aggregate information to make it appear clearer.
As already emphasized earlier, all maps are made with the object of communicating some spatial information to a reader or map user. The use of the correct symbology, colour and typography will produce remarkable differences in legibility and emphasis on maps
The graphical representation is greatly complicated by well-established conventions in cartography that often lead to contradictions.
The areas we consider on when defining the graphical representation are:
- Line styles and thickness
- Area patterns
- Point symbols
- legibility of symbols (size and perception, separation and contrast)
- Hue, Value, Saturation
- colour differentiation (the limitations of the human eye for colour differentiation)
- colour impaired vision and considerations for map design
Text and typefaces
Page layout and marginalia
- north and scale
- north and scale balance (the positioning of various visual components is it does not
unconsciously or consciously disturb the viewer)
Aesthetics and beauty
Good cartographers use cartographic impressions and artistic tweaks to make a map look clear and attractive. Good design is a result of the tension between the environment (the facts) and the cartographer. If the map attracts the reader’s attention through aesthetics and beauty they will be more receptive to the map’s message.
Cartographic Excellence Case Studies