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Sketching out design

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#1
Hans van der Maarel

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I paid a visit to the Graphic Design Museum in Breda today, to get some inspiration (one of my professional wishes is to get more map design projects, as opposed to map production or data processing). While walking through their exhibits I came up with a question that I'd like to ask the Cartotalk crowd...

Do you sketch out your designs before you start production?

I realize this question is more relevant to the design/production of thematic maps, infographics and cartograms than topographic maps (there's not a whole lot you can do with the shape of, say, Colorado...), though I guess it could also apply to the total layout of a page containing a topographic map.

Personally, I generally tend to do the whole thing digitally, though I sometimes feel limited by that. Sometimes you just want the flexibility and inaccuracy of a pencil on a piece of paper.

Would like to hear your comments!
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
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#2
David Medeiros

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I rarely do any paper sketching though I often make a lot of paper notes on various concepts or alternate workflows. These will include small sketches of particular ideas or features I want to try, not entire layouts. Instead of sketching I have a tendency to get the elements I want on the map fist then start playing with arrangements and styles. I will often clone layers or entire .AI files so I can try multiple layouts with he same data. In a sense I am going through the sketch process on screen instead of on paper.

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#3
Jean-Louis

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Do you sketch out your designs before you start production?

Would like to hear your comments!


Do I sketch out my designs!?

Hey, if I kept all my pencil sketches on onion paper the pile would probably reach the ceiling!

This is because of the type of maps I do. I interpret, stretch, compress and intelock different areas in different scales which can only be done by trial and error.
My sketching is very rough and angry because I hate doing it. :angry: Its the first thing I have to do. Me versus the blank piece of paper.

I just started to use a graphic tablet which gives the great advantage of not having to erase pencil lines in a rage and tearing the paper apart (which I why I hardly kept any sketches)

I still start all my maps by angrily laying everything out as pencil-gray line work. Then I make my sketch very transparent and start over on a new layer on top of it . Eventually it all starts to fit together as it always does eventually, except now I am not ankle-deep in tracing paper. Those large swaths of vanished forests...that was probably me.
Jean-Louis Rheault
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#4
razornole

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No sketching for me. I do about the same as David M, get my elements or bones of the map together and play with them digitally. For my thematic maps it is all in Illy, and with a topographical map it is done in InD.

kru
"Ah, to see the world with the eyes of the gods is geography--to know cities and tribes, mountains and rivers, earth and sea, this is our gift."
Strabo 22AD

#5
Dennis McClendon

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I definitely sketch logos, cover designs, and even brochure layouts. Stand-alone maps, though…never.

On a map, the design decisions are not ones of balance or concept so much as ones of hierarchy and contrast. For those, the immediate feedback of seeing it on the monitor is far more informative than having a sketch with "make this look really good" written in the margin. And the incredible liberation it gave us compared to the old days of trying to visualize how something you saw as a stack of negatives would look when it came off the press!
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#6
Jean-Louis

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Here are some samples of sketching
from first pencil to finished (and a lot in between) from a current project in Kamloops British Columbia
Attached File  kam_sketch.jpg   138.75KB   442 downloadsAttached File  dt_scan.jpg   82.44KB   424 downloadsAttached File  kam_clour.jpg   339.07KB   409 downloadsm_clour.jpg]
Jean-Louis Rheault
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#7
Hans van der Maarel

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Thanks for your comments! I think I'm going to give sketching a try on the next suitable project I get.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics

#8
Greg

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Here are some samples of sketching
from first pencil to finished (and a lot in between) from a current project in Kamloops British Columbia
Attached File  kam_sketch.jpg   138.75KB   442 downloadsAttached File  dt_scan.jpg   82.44KB   424 downloadsAttached File  kam_clour.jpg   339.07KB   409 downloads


I love seeing this type of 'Behind the Scenes' progression! Great work Jean-Louis!
Greg Moore

g r e g @ c a r t o g r a p h i c d e s i g n . c o m
www.cartographicdesign.com

#9
MapMedia

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I don't sketch unless I have an oblique map or a map fitted with media elements, but only when it is quite complex.
I keep a notebook for map projects, so I have entries for each map, but taking a quick look now, only 5% have sketches on the page somewhere.

I do, sometimes, consult my map library - both digital and hardcopy, for inspiration - especially when trying to hit a modern or historic design, or need ideas on symbolization.
I also find looking at modern art inspires ideas - and I keep a journal for this too!

#10
hotrodart

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I know this is a new reply to an older topic and I hope its still relevant but I do a mix of both.

I try to sketch as much as possible even if it's a doodle to just get me thinking about my layout and design. Theres a few time where I'll print and trace my imported files and draw over top of them too. It seems to help me visualize the color schemes and line weights. Then I'll translate that imagery digitally. A few times it'll get nixed by the higher ups and will go back to a bland vanilla layout.

I do have to watch though, I've been told more than a few times that I draw too much, which is odd for a graphic design position.
Ryan Marshall - Electronic Design Coordinator/Graphic Artist




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