When looking to have a map commissioned, there are several aspects to consider when contacting map illustrators:
- Past examples of work – does the map illustrator have examples of previous projects in their design portfolio? This may help you decide what your finished map should look like and kick start the design process. This will also help build confidence in the map illustrator.
- Resourcing – can the map illustrator complete the map to your schedule, allowing for proofing and amends? If you have a print deadline, ensure this is made clear at the start of the project so your map illustrator can work to your key dates.
- Does the map illustrator have innovative design ideas? You will be reliant on them to help take your initial ideas and create an appropriate illustrated map for your purpose, so it is important that you can work together to achieve your required product. If you have seen any examples of illustrated maps that you feel fit your brief, share them with the map illustrator so they have a clear idea of your expectations at the start of the project.
- The map illustrator should be able to guide you through the creative process – what do they need from you in the form of a brief, do you have any corporate designs to incorporate, what is your budget, etc? A map illustrator should be able to provide a timeframe for production – dates of the supply of a first proof, and so on. They should also keep you informed throughout the project of any issues as soon as they become apparent; communication is key when developing design ideas.
- Map illustrators each have a definite style, so it is important that you choose someone who can work within your ideas. To build a good working relationship, you both need to understand any limitations of design or budget, so spend some time looking around before you commission a map illustrator.
If all these aspects can be addressed, there is no reason that a perfect illustrated map cannot be produced.