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West Africa Maps

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Martin Gamache

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Looking for some feedback on the following two maps. This is the first draft, and they are intended for publication in a book on the history of slavery. I have not yet been provided with titles by the author. The author also has yet to go through a round of removing labels for the various ethnic groups as I feel there are too many. I have also not yet decided how to explain in a legend the hieracrchy in the labels. Because the various regions they allude to are very uncertain we chose to leave lines off the map.

The maps are intended for a college level textbook. Background is Natural Earth.
Hydrology is very important hence there is alot of named rivers.

Attached File  Map1_copy.pdf   182.35KB   263 downloads
Attached File  map2.pdf   132.98KB   185 downloads

Nick Springer

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Overall the maps are aesthetically pleasing. Map 1 is definitely having some hierarchy problems, though.

What jumps out at me first are the village names. The black ethnic group labels are not visually distict from the villages, even with the all caps, in fact it took me a second look to even notice them. Similarly, the grey ethnic group labels blended into the background.

What about using some more color? I tend to like a saturated maroon for important labels on this type of background as it read as red (and therefore important) without being obnoxious. You could then use size and weight to create the ethnic hierarchy. A different typeface could work as well.

Nick Springer

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Dear Martin,

Very pleasing to look at!
I second the statement on hierarchy. The village names really jump out, maybe you could put some white into the colour and use a broader font, the letters are very narrowly spaced (maybe then you have to re-arrange the capitalized font as well->increase letter spacing. A question: (I know it´s bad form for a non-english speaker...) Is "1800th" correct? shouldn´t it be "1800´s", or 18th century ?
You could also move "Abam" a little more south.
You have kewl looking coordinate lines on the overview map, put them in the detailed one as well, I like em so much :P .

Hope this helps,


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