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Authorship of maps


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#1
ErinGreb

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Two years ago I made a map for a college that I felt proud to put my name on. Two years later the college's graphic design department decided to change all of the colors to some really terrible color schemes. And now they need me to update a building which has received a renovation. I no longer consider this "my map" since I would NEVER have chosen those colors so I am removing my name from the bottom of the map. I retained no copyright on the map, and they did pay me just once for my creation of the map, so I suppose they have the right to do with it what they please.

But I just wonder how often this happens to other cartographers, and how to delicately let the clients know that I think they ruined the map?

#2
David Medeiros

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You could start by letting them know you noticed the changes and ask if they would like you to "help" them with the new color scheme. Let them know you think the current changes detract from the clarity of the map, suggest some modifications. Submit 2 updated versions of the map, one with their changes and colors but without your name and one with a new color scheme that reflects their new choices but is more pleasing to look at and keep your name. See what they say, if they go fro it great if not your name has been removed from the map.

Just curious, are you being paid for your updates or do they consider this part of your original fee?

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#3
ErinGreb

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I'm being paid for the updates. I think I'll just go ahead and change the most garish looking things and see what they say. The color scheme is oranges and yellows and maroons, and they threw lime green in the mix. Yikes!

#4
David Medeiros

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I'm being paid for the updates. I think I'll just go ahead and change the most garish looking things and see what they say. The color scheme is oranges and yellows and maroons, and they threw lime green in the mix. Yikes!


If you do that and they end up changing them back without comment, you'll be right where you are now so I would at least bring thier attention to the fact that you made the changes and why. I don't think there is anything wrong with letting your client know you disagree with thier modifications. Just keep it friendly and to the point. If you really don't want your name on the new map let them know and tell them you feel the changes don't represent your particular style and you feel it would be misleading to represent it as soley your work to other potential clients.

or you could just leave it assuming that very few people who might hire you will see this map or evaluate you completely by it's color scheme. :)

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#5
Charles Syrett

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Good advice from David. I generally don't put my name or URL onto anything that can be altered, for this very reason. On the other hand, I have had situations in which my URL has been on printed maps that were made garish -- and then had it lead to more business, from other people seeing it! They're not as discriminating as you are -- to them it still looks good. (Heck, I even had a situation in which my name ended up on someone else's work, and it led to more business for me.)


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#6
Jean-Louis

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Erin, know that even when you dont own the copyright, you still retain some 'moral rights' to your artwork.

For example, if someone were to add stuff that defaced my signed work or put pornography on it then that causes harm to my business and reputation regardless of copyright

I generally mention to clients that it is their map and they can make changes to stuff like labels and formats but that I expect them to at least consult with me if they want to make any changes that alters the 'look and feel' of the work.

It is perfectly correct and 'de rigueur' to tell clients that they made changes that in your opinion is not congruent with good design and that it 'embarasses' you professionally. They would not have given you the job if they did not respect your work and opinions in the first place.

Consider anything with your name on it as your business card
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#7
ErinGreb

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Thanks to everyone for your advice! I took their color changes as just a recommendation and adapted it to be a compromise between my style and their request. Now I just have to formulate a kind but firm way to tell them why I changed the colors again without offending anyone too much!

#8
ravells

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Thanks to everyone for your advice! I took their color changes as just a recommendation and adapted it to be a compromise between my style and their request. Now I just have to formulate a kind but firm way to tell them why I changed the colors again without offending anyone too much!


There is an interesting article here: http://www.porterfie...enseyourart.htm

If you have a standard agreement in which you licence the use of the map rather than sell the copyright to it, you should be able to protect against amendments?

I love your portfolio, btw, really beautiful work.

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#9
rudy

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You could do a couple of things in the future to try to avoid such an issue:
- give them the file in a format that makes it difficult to make any changes
- include something about the client not being allowed to change things when drafting a contract for work you'll be doing

I've never had a client make such drastic changes and it is something that would upset me. However, I have had some clients tinker with stuff I've done that I haven't been happy with (pretty minor) so I understand your pain.

#10
natcase

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I used to worry about this more, but life, as they say, is too short... If I were you I'd tread lightly, pointing out one or two ways in which the new color scheme causes a loss of functionality. "You totally messed up my carefully considered and balanced design" doesn't usually work as an opener...

What we often do is change the phrasing to something like "base mapping by Hedberg Maps." That way our name is on it, but we're disclaiming some responsibility for what they've done to it since then.

We find that often the map is seen as just another graphic element by clients, and so must match corporate colors. That's just part of the specs, and I find it helpful to find this out early and then do the best I can to work within the guidelines. It makes things more of a challenge sometimes, but then that's what keeps the work interesting!

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#11
Gretchen Peterson

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The colors may be ugly to you but what you have to do in these situations is consider what value those colors do or do not give to the client. Always frame a critique in reference to how it will affect the map from the customer's point of view. If it is a business location map, for example, you will want to discuss how the customers of that particular store would be more responsive, in your professional opinion, to a different color palette. If it doesn't seem over-the-top mention that you are willing to do a customer focus study to explore the issue. Remember, it is all about the audience!

There's a site that has a location map with an all-pink color scheme. Would I consider it garish if I were the audience? Yes. But I'm not their audience and it fits with the rest of their message and body of work so it works well for them.

I'm pretty sure from your post that you do feel that the colors adversely affect how the audience interprets your map. Just make sure to explain it that way to the client. It's always about value to them...

#12
EOSGIS

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I have two ways to "assume" this changes from the client, which always exists for at least... 30% of the clients.
a) If I'm going to sign the map, I let them know clearly that there will be changes in stylism, execpt for those that at last last time in rush conditions They cant notify me to make the corrections.
B) If they seem to be manipulating the map, making changes that makes it a bad and ugly map... I dont sign the map

In a last last case, where the client tells me that they are not going to change anythin, but I percieve they are going to do so...and they want me to sign the map, ... I just send a raster format with just some editable layers in illustrator... even in this last case, some can really make a disaster!!!, so ... I just assume its part of my work :-(
best regards




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