Jump to content

 
Photo

Graphic Designer to Cartographer


  • Please log in to reply
4 replies to this topic

#1
Miguel Gutierrez

Miguel Gutierrez

    Newbie

  • New Member
  • Pip
  • 1 posts
  • No Country Selected

Hello, new to this industry. I am changing my industry from graphic designer to cartographer. Can any body give me advise on what skills I need to work on to find a job in this industry. I am very knowledgeable in Adobe CS3 but what other programs should train myself in. I live in Houston, TX and the oil industry very big here. Any good advise will do thank you.

Miguel Gutierrez...

#2
David Medeiros

David Medeiros

    Hall of Fame

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,065 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Redwood City CA
  • Interests:Cartography, wood working, wooden boats, fishing, camping, overland travel, exploring.
  • United States

Hello, new to this industry. I am changing my industry from graphic designer to cartographer. Can any body give me advise on what skills I need to work on to find a job in this industry. I am very knowledgeable in Adobe CS3 but what other programs should train myself in. I live in Houston, TX and the oil industry very big here. Any good advise will do thank you.

Miguel Gutierrez...


You have a head start in terms of design experience and design software, but be aware that a lot of what you may consider best practices in GD will not be the same in cartographic design. Color use in mapping in particular seems to be an issue with some GDs. If you're not already familiar with Edward Tufte I'd check out some of his design books, good information on design for visual communication which is what were usually mostly concerned with in map making.

While you can get by just fine with no geography or GIS background I think it helps tremendously. You might want to look into an intro to physical geography course at a local JC and then possibly some basic and advanced GIS courses (or even a certificate program). A lot of designed maps start from GIS data and it can be difficult to deal with the data if your'e not familiar with data collections methods or the basics of projections, datums, file types, etc. Since you're already using CS I'd look into the Avenza MAPublisher extension for Illustrator which reads GIS data directly into Illy and helps you work with data from different sources etc.

There's a lot of opens source GIS stuff out there, most of it is under documented or supported so your'e really on your own with it. I find they often fill a needed gap here and there but are very difficult to rely on full tim unless you're a masochist.

I'd say that at the very least you'll need to upgrade your copy of CS. You could probably get by ok for now but eventually you'll want to catch up to the rest of the field who (if using CS) are on probably CS4 or higher.

For self education on design fro map making I'd check out "making MAPS" by Krygier and Wood, as well as "Cartography, an introduction" by the British Cartographic Society. And of course this forum is the best place online to get help and information so come here often!

Good luck.

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

www.mapbliss.com

 


#3
Derek Tonn

Derek Tonn

    Legendary Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 455 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Springfield, Minnesota, USA
  • United States

Hello, new to this industry. I am changing my industry from graphic designer to cartographer. Can any body give me advise on what skills I need to work on to find a job in this industry. I am very knowledgeable in Adobe CS3 but what other programs should train myself in. I live in Houston, TX and the oil industry very big here. Any good advise will do thank you.

Miguel Gutierrez...


Hi Miguel!

Our firm has been around twelve years creating thousands of maps with nothing other than graphic design applications such as the Adobe CS Suite, Corel Draw, Sketchup, and Freehand (among others). And before we all came together as a team, many of us were doing it on our own for many years. Again, without allowing any sort of data set or GIS software "draw" the base maps on our behalf.

If you're fluent in the CS suite, you could probably make a living making maps. That said, most of the industry has migrated toward data in creating their maps...so having at least a decent understanding of all-things GIS would probably help.

Me? I don't even have my art degree! Ran out of time/money to finish off a graphic design degree back in the early 1990s. I have a BA and MBA in marketing/management...but I've been drawing maps for over 30 years (18 professionally), and four years of studio art classes were the best thing that ever happened to me related to map design. If I had more time, I would love to take a Geography/Cartography class or two (or ten). But while I think it's helpful, it's not a "must." Having a good eye, and knowing how to take what's in your head and have it quickly (and, hopefully, beautifully) make sense to end users on a page or on-screen is the main thing.
Derek Tonn
Founder and CEO
mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com

#4
Dennis McClendon

Dennis McClendon

    Hall of Fame

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,078 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Chicago
  • Interests:map design, large-scale maps of cities
  • United States

Color use in mapping in particular seems to be an issue with some GDs.


Can you elaborate on this?

At any rate, Miguel, I came to mapping from graphic design, and have found it very satisfying (though not very lucrative). Having an eye for color, typography, and balance will eventually serve you well, even though it may not get you your first job. I do find it frustrating in GIS work to not be able to manipulate the linework more directly.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#5
David Medeiros

David Medeiros

    Hall of Fame

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,065 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Redwood City CA
  • Interests:Cartography, wood working, wooden boats, fishing, camping, overland travel, exploring.
  • United States

Color use in mapping in particular seems to be an issue with some GDs.


Can you elaborate on this?


Mostly derived from anecdotal information from cart instructors who often prefaced their courses with an admonition to any GDs in the audience to let go of certain prejudices they may have regarding color use and meaning. I guess it often came up with GDs in cart that we were utilizing color incorrectly or using the wrong terminology when talking about color space or effect in terms of visual hierarchy etc. I don't have GD training so not sure what the specific issues are but it seems like it's just a difference of purpose and vocabulary to me. The problem was the GDs didn't seem willing to accept any alternative methods and definitions for anything they were already familiar with in their world. Possibly just related to the school itself and not the discipline though.

My main point is that there is a lot of overlap between GD and cart design but there are some differences in application of standard design advice. GDs coming to cart have an advantage but need to be aware there may be conflicts between best practices from each field.

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

www.mapbliss.com

 





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

-->