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Color schemes for France map

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#1
Kevin McManigal

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone! The link is of some different color tests for an interactive map of France. The client wants to be able to update the links for each region, so the Flash file reads them from an xml text file. Only the upper three NW regions are active. The lack of surrounding countries is per request as well. I am partial to the single color versions, but the client would like each region to be a different color; hope we can settle on a five color spread. What’s your opinion?

See the maps here
Kevin McManigal
Orange Peel Cartographic
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#2
MapMedia

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Happy turkey day to you too.
With the caveats you listed, I prefer #3, using the 4 color rule. It makes me think of wine. :)

#3
Jean-Louis

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My comments would be:

I too prefer the color scheme of the wine map 3 but only because it has a theme
Your no1 has more potential but I would suggest experimenting with desaturating your colours. France ( in my mind) suggests light, fine and subtle. If you are partial to the clarity of single color, you can acheive great results by using differing shades of a same colour
I find the embossing to be distracting and too pillowy. As a rule, I have found the bevel and emboss feature on Photoshop to be effective on a map only when it is harder-edged and shallow.
Hope this helps
Bonne chance et Vive la France
Jean-Louis Rheault
Montreal


#4
natcase

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Instead of pillow emboss, consider a darkening inner glow. The three-dimensional thing is making it hard to identify the whole. It's kind of an interesting psychological effect, actually: if forces the reader to ignore the forest for the trees, even with such a familiar shape.

Also, it might help to be label the regions, making the buttons more "buttony." Is that possible (with abbreviations even)?

Finally, I think you'll see an improvement if you make the four/five colors more tonally similar; in the three examples you give, eliminating/replacing the light yellow would help pull the whole together.

Nat Case
INCase, LLC

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maphead.blogspot.com



#5
Kevin McManigal

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Thanks for the comments! The client is unfortunatly leaning towards the "Gumball Machine" look. The first two color schemes were generated on Color Brewer, hence the light yellow to balance out the darker colors. I don't mind that so much. The 3rd is from the adobe Kuler color site, which is worth checking out if you haven't.

One question for everyone: How do you deal with giving a client what they want, even when you don't like it, or know its just wrong? Seems like a fine line between sticking to sound conventions and loosing clients! A learning curve that I have only begun to climb. All advice welcome, Kevin
Kevin McManigal
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#6
Charles Syrett

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One question for everyone: How do you deal with giving a client what they want, even when you don't like it, or know its just wrong? Seems like a fine line between sticking to sound conventions and loosing clients! A learning curve that I have only begun to climb. All advice welcome, Kevin


After years of struggling with this issue, my personal resolution is this: pleasing the client is an innate feature of the activity that is cartography. This is especially true if the client is paying you to do the work! Even so, every client is different, and some are only pleased if they feel that your professional expertise is satisfied. In such cases the client may have a strong point of view or preference, but will want/need to hear whether or not you agree.

What I usually do is tell the customer what my professional opinion is, but make it clear that i will give them what they want if they prefer a different approach.

Charles Syrett
Map Graphics
http://www.mapgraphics.com

#7
Jean-Louis

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a good thread topic on its own.

Kevin, I dont think there is a 'line between good conventions and loosing clients' if you say your client is leaning towards a look that you dont feel is right then dont be afraid to express your disagreement.

I find that I am usually more aware of what clients really want than they are. Often they may express an idea like (say) 'its too blue' while you know that what they are perceiving is not enough yellow. It is rare that I do not convince a client to change a 'mistaken' request if I take the time to explain things in terms that are relevant to him.

Ps , I really enjoyed the intro on your site but now I cant get the 'King of the Road' tune out of my head.
2 hours of pushing broom....
Jean-Louis Rheault
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#8
natcase

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It's really easy to fall back on "The client is always right." But that of course means that you are wrong, so it's really easy to get one's back up in the face of someone who is riding hard to break every cartographic principle you've learned...

I've come around to thinking this is the wrong approach. Many clients are in fact reasonably accomplished graphic designers or art directors, and simply want you to execute an illustration to their specs. The easiest approach in this situation is to resign yourself to being just a techie for this job (like someone hiring you to mash data and then send it on to them for mapping--no shame there), and let go any sense that you are designing it. Just be sure that you build this understanding into your contract, so you don't pay for their subsequently changing their mind on design.

The biggest problem then is clients who want to be the designer, but want you to be the cartographic designer, but to their specs, but with your training, but looking like their design, but using your design skills... I've had a couple projects like this, and I think the only way around them is to be blunt and get someone to set up clear line of command on the project. Or insist on billing hourly and let them dig their own grave (or not).

The point being, the client may really not be lookig for a "mappy" piece of artwork. What would really work best it to provide them with glorified clip-art mapping and let them go to town on it. Trouble is, map files are generally complex enough that it's cheaper for them to hire the one that knows the file best to style it to their specs, even if those specs go against the cartographers map-design principles.

What can I say? If what the client wants is not something you want your name on, you can always remove any reference to yourself...

Nat Case
INCase, LLC

Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
maphead.blogspot.com



#9
MapMedia

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When presenting drafts or design alternatives, I choose one and explicitly define which I prefer and why. Basically, I make a recommendation and list my reasons.
If the client chooses otherwise, I have done my part and can therefore deliver something they like and will use. Of course, if the client has awful taste and will not listen
to reason, then the map is made, but my logo/name mysteriously disappears. :P

#10
Kevin McManigal

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Thanks, those were all great replies! The interesting thing I’m finding out about designing maps for websites, is that no one wants any kind of “made by” button directing a viewer off their site, never to return. So in a sense, you are an anonymous cartographer. That’s good if the map has been tweaked by the client, but bad if it’s a nice piece of work. Hard to make a name for yourself if you don’t get credit. I am going to start pushing for at least a static piece of text with the company name.
Kevin McManigal
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#11
Charles Syrett

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Thanks, those were all great replies! The interesting thing I’m finding out about designing maps for websites, is that no one wants any kind of “made by” button directing a viewer off their site, never to return. So in a sense, you are an anonymous cartographer. That’s good if the map has been tweaked by the client, but bad if it’s a nice piece of work. Hard to make a name for yourself if you don’t get credit. I am going to start pushing for at least a static piece of text with the company name.


Don't ask -- just do it. I put my URL on gif and jpeg maps for websites all the time. Occasionally a client will ask me to take it off, and I'll remove it on the final version. I've gotten lots of business this way.

Charles Syrett
Map Graphics
http://www.mapgraphics.com




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