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Map critique for local newspapers annual county guide

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#1
Disturbed Geographer

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Hello-
My local newspaper here in Virginia publishes an annual county guide that features a series of maps. I have been asked to create the maps this year and am ready to deliver them. I was hoping I could get some feedback regarding their design and content before I send them in. All feedback is appreciated.

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#2
Jean-Louis

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Hello-
My local newspaper here in Virginia publishes an annual county guide that features a series of maps. I have been asked to create the maps this year and am ready to deliver them. I was hoping I could get some feedback regarding their design and content before I send them in. All feedback is appreciated.

Files have been compressed to allow for posting. Look for 4 subsequent posts.


That is a very nice map. I am usually ultra-conservative with typography but I found yours to be very pleasant and easy to read. (what is that typeface?)
I have not looked at technical details but it terms of design, I liked it a lot at first glance which usually means good design. Great job!
Jean-Louis Rheault
Montreal


#3
magictune

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I like your map, especially color combination ...

#4
sitesatlas

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Very nice map -- I like the color scheme, too. What are the grey boxes around the highway shields for?
Michael Borop
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#5
James Hines

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I'll echo those same comments & say that this is a very nice looking & not overly complicated map. However I'll go outside what others have said & give one criticism & that deals with the dominance of the road-identification symbols. Road symbols are eye popping, but that's may due to the shadow effect. BTW how is the size of your file with all that shadow you got going?

"There is much beauty that we fail to see through our own eyes teeming with life forms that give us that perception of our reality.  Leaves on the trees blowing gently in the wind, or scarily, the waves pounding through high surf, or lightly on a warm summer’s day; that opportunity to sit or swim in the water on a white beach.   That comfort to shout, “The universal conscious do you hear me?  I am alive, guide me dear logos towards the path of rightnesses.”  Earned what has been kept, no longer to be absorbed into a life filled with cold damn winds and  that stubborn fog clouding  my vision with nothing but darkness."


#6
DaveB

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Overall impression - nice map

I'm not crazy about the font for things like "G. Richard Thompson WMA" - some of the letters are bigger than others, almost like there's a mix of font sizes. I find it kind of "jarring".

I wonder if you could find a better color for the Cedar Run part of the inset map - the yellow with matching light-colored outline seems too different from the other colors. Makes the visual hierarchy a bit "wonky" (although I'm not sure if it makes Cedar Run stand out or fade back).
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#7
Paul H

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I'd put a scale bar on it.

#8
Esther Mandeno

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Well, we are being nit-picky here, but I don't like the color combo. However, it is a very readable map. I like it overall, too. Good job!

Oh, yeah, the road symbols to scream out at you, but maybe that was the intention?
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Esther Mandeno
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#9
David Medeiros

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Nice map, good color scheme. I agree about the fonts, not my typical style but it works here and guide maps often make use of non conventional fonts better than a reference or street map does.

I agree about the road symbols, the shadow effect makes them pop to the top of the visual hierarchy when I would guess that the legend items are of more importance?

I like that you included exit numbers but I usually see these as squares not circles. The numbered circle makes me think they are a reference to a note in the text somewhere.

Similar comment for fire stations. Because both fire stations and POIs are the same small colored circles they appear related on the map but are completely different features. I'd look at using another symbol for fire, maybe just a red square.

Most of the lines on the map are various thicknesses of black, you could break that up a little by choosing a gray for smaller roads, or a color for the hwy. I m might also look at making the Appalachian Trail another color.

Without a town symbol or urban-area polygon the town names are hard for me to place.

I agree on the comment made for the small locator, it looks good but the yellow section seems out of place with the other area fills. See if you can find a color of about the same saturation as the others.

There is a bit of an "island effect" going on because the roads stop at the edge of the district boarders. You might look at continuing the road lines in a very light gray to the edge of the page to help anchor the map and reference it to the other district maps you will be doing.

All that said this is essentially good to go as is and looks very nice.


Edited to add: you may also want to add a highlight outline to the district in the small locator map to emphasize which of the locations is being shown in the main map.

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#10
Matthew Hampton

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I won't echo the great comments you've already received, but move on to some nitpicky things. Since you have done a very nice job on the cartography and labeling (with the exception of "Upperville Community Park" in the north - left-align or don't stack the label), if you had some time you could focus on the reinforcing "the set" of maps.

When I first looked at the inset map I thought the map was of Center, just because it's label is pulled out and it seems to be on top. I think if you reinforced (thickened) the outline of Marshall in both the inset and the full map, the connection would be easier to make. You could make that change to all the maps and they would look great as a set.

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#11
Dennis McClendon

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Nice work overall. The road symbols do seem overly prominent; I would do white numbers in a black or dark gray circle.

In general, I think it's nice for labels to be the same or related color as the features. So I would change the park and forest labels to dark green, and I would make the Appalachian Trail and its label the same dark green. Dark brown for the historic districts; same idea.

I'm always a little puzzled by the interest among rural communities in showing fire stations. Where I live in downtown Chicago, the firefighters make house calls. We don't have to take our fires over to the nearest station to have them extinguished. Perhaps after the next round of budget cuts . . .
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
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#12
M.Denil

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Well, Dennis, out in the depths of the back woods (like Fauqier County), the Fire Stations are often the main centers for non-parochial social life. For instance, that's where they hang the big bedsheet to watch movies in the summer...

I was wondering why the Voting Locations get the honking big yellow call-outs on the map, but no indication in the legend or list that I should be looking for numbers on big yellow call-outs. The text face on the numbers in the list and in the call-outs is different too.

The road ends are not very well handled: they are cut square even where the political border cuts them diagonally. I would suggest running the roads just past the border and allowing them to end there. US 50 is the most eggregious example, but the north end of US 17, along the edge of the region, gets confused with the border..

The green line at the edeg of the region is a bit of ink that could be removed: it suggests a park road... The well saturated base colors don't need all that border line work.

The small map should drop the border colors too: decrease the value on the yellow for Cedar Run, and then you won't have the heavy double border lines inside the map.

Mark Denil
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#13
oldtoby

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One area i'd mention is your road lines, I notice you have road badges on some of the State secondary highways, but not all. it looks incomplete that way. I'd add some more road badges or just delete the roads that dont have badges.

#14
ravells

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Lovely looking map.

What's throwing me (and I'm not from the US which may be the reason why) are the town labels. In some cases (eg Markham and Paris) you seem to indicate a darker built up area which I'm guessing is the location of the town, but places like Orlean, Conde and Dude don't have them, so I can't tell if they are towns or districts. I think they must be towns as the font style/size are the same as for other indicated towns.

I'm not sure what the final printed size of the map will be but to me the town labels are huge compared to the other labels. Making the town labels so big makes it more difficult for me to see where the town actually is.

cheers

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#15
Disturbed Geographer

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Thanks everyone for their excellent advice. I generally agree with all comments and will proceed with the edits. I shall upload the new maps in the next few days and would appreciate a second look.




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