Jump to content

 
Photo

Which is better, ALL CAPS or Title Case for map typography?

- - - - - California Pismo Beach Freelance maps map design mapsandlocations.com automatic labeling osm maps royalty free typography arroyo grande

  • Please log in to reply
26 replies to this topic

#1
ProMapper

ProMapper

    Master Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 216 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:India
  • Interests:promapper@gmail.com
  • India

Hi

 

My question to all the great cartographers of Cartotalk is; which is better, ALL CAPS or Title Case for map typography?

 

But before I elaborate my question, a little deviation. I purchased Mapublisher Ver 9 last year and this year I finally purchased LabelPro. Well it was a dream come true for me as I wanted to utilize Open Street Maps data in making maps. Then I got a project of making little more than half a dozen maps of Californian cities.  I made all those maps from OSM data, and completed my project. The client was happy with the maps which were in ALL CAPS typography, he wanted the maps like that.

 

But I had the nagging question, which is better, ALL CAPS or Title Case for map typography?

 

So I went ahead and modified the ALL CAPS design to Title Case design, just to review which looks better. But I am not able to decide which is better. So I invite views of all you great cartographers on the subject, both versions of one map, Arroyo Grande Oceano map are attached here.

 

Thanks.

 

Anu

http://www.mapsandlocations.com

 

I find another problem in uploading on Cartotalk, it automatically resamples the jpg to a compressed version, both in size and quality.

 

Here are the two original files for you on Dropbox, the first title case typography,  https://www.dropbox.... title case.jpg

and the second file in all caps https://www.dropbox....sample caps.jpg

 

And here is the increased font size and more black in title case https://www.dropbox....le_case_new.jpg

Attached Files



#2
David Medeiros

David Medeiros

    Hall of Fame

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,082 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Redwood City CA
  • Interests:Cartography, wood working, wooden boats, fishing, camping, overland travel, exploring.
  • United States

I think it really depends on the map and features. I take letter case on a case by case basis (no pun intended).

 

Some features in a map tend to be well suited to all caps while others read better as title case. For me, I often use all caps on for roads, rivers and geographic features, and letter case for towns and other cultural features. But not always, I have one map where that was reversed and I did roads and trails in title case and most everything else in all caps. It just depends.

 

What I would say is universally true for me is that I never use just one or the other, I almost always use both all caps and title case. It helps break up the label hierarchy and adds another way for me to help direct the map readers attention to what I think is most important in the map.


  • DaveB likes this

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

www.mapbliss.com

 


#3
loximuthal

loximuthal

    Key Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 96 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bowie, MD
  • United States

I agree with David: it all depends.  For the maps we make for field work we generally use title case for everything except state and county labels.  Some of our public products will use all caps for other geographic classes (which ones varies by project and client requirements), but most are done in title case.


Andy McIntire
US Census Bureau

#4
souvik.gis

souvik.gis

    Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPip
  • 33 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:India
  • Interests:GIS, Cartography,Music
  • India

I think it should depend on the output size and label frequency of your maps. After all the labels should visible clearly and properly. Clumsy labels will destroy the beauty of the maps.  Within the two image I will go with the title case as it is not clumsy and clearly readable.



#5
ProMapper

ProMapper

    Master Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 216 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:India
  • Interests:promapper@gmail.com
  • India

I also agree with David. The case to case basis is highly appropriate. I have found that most of topographic mapping is title case type whereas guide maps have all caps for road names and few other features as you have mentioned.

 

Another important aspect, very rightly brought out, labeling should not be clumsy. But in guide maps/tourist maps we want as many labels as possible, so a right balance is important. But again what is the right balance, it is highly subjective, isn't it?

 

Anu



#6
Hans van der Maarel

Hans van der Maarel

    CartoTalk Editor-in-Chief

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,868 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:The Netherlands
  • Interests:Cartography, GIS, history, popular science, music.
  • Netherlands

In general I agree with what's been said above, it depends on the map and what you're mapping. I find title case easier to read, but all caps (combined with perhaps a bold letter, or different color)  is a great way to highlight important features.

 

One thing to keep in mind when labelling in title case is that when it comes to given names some languages have some odd rules about which letters to capitalize. For example, if there's ever a street named after me here in The Netherlands (just you wait and see! ;) ) it'd be "van der Maarelstraat", no caps on the v and d (also... to make matters more complicated... my last name should be sorted under m, not v...). However... should I be so lucky that a street in Belgium is named after me as well (hey... a man can dream... :P ) then it would be "Van Der Maarelstraat".

 

Another thing in Dutch is that the combination ij is treated as a single letter. So it's IJsselmeer instead of Ijsselmeer. And there's the case of 's or 't at the start of a word, which shouldn't be capitalised... (like 's-Hertogenbosch or 't-Harde)

 

So long story short, if you're labelling a map of an area where your not familiar with the local language and you're going to change the case (from whatever is supplied to you), be careful you're not introducing mistakes.


  • DaveB and ProMapper like this
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics

#7
AndrewM

AndrewM

    Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPip
  • 27 posts
  • United Kingdom

I agree with the comments above that it depends on the map content and what you're trying to convey. For the two samples that you attached the main use will presumably be as a street map, and I actually found it much easier to skim over and find a street name quickly on the version with all caps than the one using title case so that would be my personal preference for your example.


  • DaveB likes this

#8
ProMapper

ProMapper

    Master Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 216 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:India
  • Interests:promapper@gmail.com
  • India

Very appropriately written, Hans. So it is not so simple but various factors play up in the typography of a map.

 

And yes, my best wishes to you to get a road on your name in the Netherlands  :) BTW, do we have any roads named in honor of any cartographers, I haven't found one in India yet.



#9
Paul H

Paul H

    Paul from JIMAPCO

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 74 posts
  • Location:Round Lake, NY
  • United States

I've thought about this topic for many, many years, and came to a conclusion about 25 years ago after much research. Your examples confirm what I believe is the best way for labeling streets on a map of this scale - one where you want to show as many labels as possible, yet have each one large enough to read.

 

To my eye, street labels that are ALL CAPS are easier to read when labels are very small. For example, on your map SARATOGA AVE is easier to read than Saratoga Ave (it's below Grover Heights Park). That's just one example. There are many others on your map. 

 

Also, on a map that is very crowded (and especially those with a grid-pattern to the streets) there is more vertical room to place an ALL CAPS label than there is to place Title Case labels, because you don't need to take into account any text descenders. (I don't like it when they overprint the road)

 

That being said, if you use ALL CAPS for the roads, I would use Title Case for points of interest and neighborhood names, to give them more distinction.



#10
David Medeiros

David Medeiros

    Hall of Fame

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,082 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Redwood City CA
  • Interests:Cartography, wood working, wooden boats, fishing, camping, overland travel, exploring.
  • United States

In general I agree with what's been said above, it depends on the map and what you're mapping. I find title case easier to read, but all caps (combined with perhaps a bold letter, or different color)  is a great way to highlight important features.

 

One thing to keep in mind when labelling in title case is that when it comes to given names some languages have some odd rules about which letters to capitalize. For example, if there's ever a street named after me here in The Netherlands (just you wait and see! ;) ) it'd be "van der Maarelstraat", no caps on the v and d (also... to make matters more complicated... my last name should be sorted under m, not v...). However... should I be so lucky that a street in Belgium is named after me as well (hey... a man can dream... :P ) then it would be "Van Der Maarelstraat".

 

Another thing in Dutch is that the combination ij is treated as a single letter. So it's IJsselmeer instead of Ijsselmeer. And there's the case of 's or 't at the start of a word, which shouldn't be capitalised... (like 's-Hertogenbosch or 't-Harde)

 

So long story short, if you're labelling a map of an area where your not familiar with the local language and you're going to change the case (from whatever is supplied to you), be careful you're not introducing mistakes.

 

Hey, when you make the maps you get to name the features man! There may or may not be a "Medeiros Slough" on one of the old CSAA maps. I'm not telling.

 

By the way, if uncommon spellings, indyosincratic naming conventions and multiple names for the same place bother anyone here, I highly reccomend you avoid making maps for any part of Iceland (unless you are from Iceland I guess).

 

I've done two very basic route maps of Iceland and each time it has taken a local expert to set me straight after much research online and still mamaging to mangle thier place names and spellings. No two maps I found agreed on more than a few labels.


GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

www.mapbliss.com

 


#11
Hans van der Maarel

Hans van der Maarel

    CartoTalk Editor-in-Chief

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,868 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:The Netherlands
  • Interests:Cartography, GIS, history, popular science, music.
  • Netherlands

BTW, do we have any roads named in honor of any cartographers, I haven't found one in India yet.

 

You have a whole mountain named after one, isn't that enough? ;)


Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics

#12
Charles Syrett

Charles Syrett

    Ultimate Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 537 posts
  • Canada

Of the 2 samples posted, I find the all caps version more legible – but only because the street names become too small when they're in title case at that point size. If you had increased the point size, it may have been a different story.

 

The usual rule of thumb in graphic design circles is that title case is easier to read, because the ascenders and descenders give more visual clues. I usually reserve caps for larger features, especially those that call for letter spacing (or "kerning"). Take community names, for example. At the scale of your map, I think the title case works. But on a map at, say, 1: 20,000 or larger, the community names would be better shown as caps, spread out over the area that they label. That being said, I also agree with the point of view given by others, that there are no hard and fast rules.


Charles Syrett
Map Graphics
http://www.mapgraphics.com


  • ProMapper likes this

#13
Paul H

Paul H

    Paul from JIMAPCO

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 74 posts
  • Location:Round Lake, NY
  • United States

My findings: when fitting type into a small vertical space (e.g. labeling streets on a city map) ALL CAPS are easier to read for 2 reasons: 1) each letter is larger and 2) the entire word can be a larger point size (no need to reserve space for descenders). The rule of thumb about title case being easier to read is true when reading in paragraph form, not so true when trying to discern tiny words on a map.



#14
ProMapper

ProMapper

    Master Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 216 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:India
  • Interests:promapper@gmail.com
  • India

BTW, do we have any roads named in honor of any cartographers, I haven't found one in India yet.

 

You have a whole mountain named after one, isn't that enough? ;)

Oh I forgot, Mount Everest, but unfortunately it is in Nepal not India.



#15
ProMapper

ProMapper

    Master Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 216 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:India
  • Interests:promapper@gmail.com
  • India

Of the 2 samples posted, I find the all caps version more legible – but only because the street names become too small when they're in title case at that point size. If you had increased the point size, it may have been a different story.

Yes, I agree with you Charles. Title case version could have the font size a notch higher. So here is another version with half point increase in font size, could not accommodate full point increase. It sure makes the map much more balanced and legible. Thanks. 

Attached File  Small_case.jpg   195.37KB   44 downloads







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: California, Pismo Beach, Freelance maps, map design, mapsandlocations.com, automatic labeling, osm maps, royalty free, typography, arroyo grande

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

-->