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Designing Maps for Outdoor Use

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#1
rudy

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I've been asked to put together a map of trails and recreation facilities for a small town. The map will be posted on outdoor signs, readable from a couple of feet / 1 metre distance or so. I recall seeing a website somewhere that listed design tips for such situations (e.g. recommended font and symbol size) but, of course, never bookmarked it. Do any of you know of such a website or, better yet, have any recommendations for designing for signs for outdoor use? The map will be 36" x 48" in size and in colour.

#2
Dennis McClendon

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I'd make most type 18 to 24 pts, and icons about 36 pts tall. Background info can go as small as 12-14 pt. You can always just print out a couple of sections at full size and put them on your wall to see how they look.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#3
Mike H

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Dennis' suggestions are good guidelines - but ultimately the reader can stand just inches away, correct? Your choices have a lot to do with the scale of the map and how much content you have to work with, or care to add. First you want a healthy sized title to attract your audience to the fact that a map exists in whatever display kiosk-thing you have on the ground. Then a series of dominant text pieces to orient the viewer to the map. After that, the hierarchy of information you provide can become quite detailed, and you may use 12pt text, or even smaller, assuming the reader has access up close and personal.

I've done 3 ft x 4 ft maps that can be useful for people who pull up to the kiosk (it's a drive-up location) and they can read some coarse info without leaving the car. But a detailed subset of information is available for pedestrians (or those rare folks who actually get out of the car) and this layer is at the 12-14 pt size.

m.
Michael Hermann
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#4
rudy

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The maps are for a walk by crowd - the idea is to actually get people out of their cars and look at the map to see what the town has to offer in terms of physical activity.
The scale of the map is fairly large - 1:2.500. I like chicarto's suggestions and tried printing a section off to read and test. It works well.




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