Map Design

May 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

I’ve finally created my first diagram for the project, here you can see it in its various stages, the first image displaying the route with all the Google map screenshots underneath, of which I used as a guide to attain to exact route.

When creating the map, I decided it’d be a wise idea to structure the layers of the design to allow for me to easily manage the map’s components, these being the days, points of interest, and the routes and their transportation method. This function will allow me to display these factors specifically, with no other distractions; I’ll need to do this in the later stages of my design process to show separation of days and transportation.

After totally assembling my map routes, I needed to colour them accordingly to show which were travelled by via different modes of transport, as well as choosing a line style to represent my movement. It was by this point that I began experimenting with the details of the lines and the routes: weight, colour, stroke texture, shape, and opacity and blend modes. I decided that my colour scheme would be a basic CMYK one, using cyan (cycling), magenta (skateboarding), yellow (motor travel) and green (walking) to represent each form of travel; these have been chosen for their vibrancy and their contrast. I decided to stick with singular lines, with a straight stroke, and a weight of 0.35mm, as this was the most accurate to the roads I was interpreting from, which would seem logical to stick with if I am aiming for accuracy. I’ve chosen to use a dark grey background, as this seems to bode well with the colour scheme I’ve chosen, emphasising them greatly, and making them more noticeable, it looks nicer also.

My design work, for this and the rest of my designs, are, and will, be predominantly based in Adobe Illustrator, for the reason that working with vectors allows for a far more visually pleasing result, also the accuracy is far better, and working with shapes in general.

 

Problems

One problem I faced while assembling the routes was that of recurrence and accuracy, as I’d need to lay the same, or similar, route on top of another. The way I wished to piece this together was for them to neatly and precisely show my routes, so I needed to find a way to combat this in a way that allowed for quick assemblage of these clashes. I tackled this by using existing routes, copying them to a new document layer, and naming them appropriately to help me recognize them, I’d then simply copy the content of the required route and then ‘paste in place’ so it’d be perfectly aligned, connecting any routes that met. I used this method also for the locations (red/purple dots).

Another problem I needed to overcome was that of layering visibility; I needed to make sure the routes that recurred and overlapped were all visible, as my intention was to allow for the viewer to recognise easily where routes had been taken more frequently, which would be presented via more solid colours, opposed to more transparent ones. I experimented with different opacity percentages, though the lowered opacity would only be effective for the first 2 or 3 layers overlapping, as the colour would then gain a 100% opacity, still hiding the further layers underneath, making it pointless. Knowing this, I couldn’t simply use the opacity setting solely, so I played around with the various blend modes to see their results. The ‘Overlay’ and ‘Multiply’ modes best fit from the list, however I had to exclude overlay as it altered the line colours too much, making new colours that were far from my intended ones, cyan, magenta, yellow, and green. The multiply setting acquired the best results, leaving only one particular route more obscured than the rest, colouring it a near blackish colour, however I feel this simply shows that this route is incredibly popular by myself via all transportations.

After tackling the previous problem, subsequently a new one arose: the blend mode would interfere with the background colour I’d chosen for the design. I figured if I transfer the ai. file to Photoshop I’d be able to save the map, with no background present, in it’s own private state, making it such that it’s blend modes are unaffected by layers underneath it, as I’d be flattening it; this all worked perfectly.

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