Map Design Principles
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C-R-A-P is the achronym used by Robin Williams in The Non-Designer's Design and Type Books, Deluxe Edition (link to Amazon.com) .
The letters stand for Contrast, Repitition, Alignment, and Proximity.
The point is to avoid similarity. This means making clear distinctions of features for...
- Colors including tone and saturation.
- Symbols and what they represent.
- Lettering including font style, weight, color, and size.
Similarity leads to confusion. The reader wonders if lettering that varies only by 2 points is a mistake or a meaningful difference. Likewise, colors that are too similar leaves the reader confused.
Contrast can also be used to draw attention to a certain map area. For example, a straight line or square box on a map of curved lines and polygons instantly grabs the reader's attention because it is different.
Repeating themes, colors, shapes, textures, lettering, or other map objects gives the map an overall feeling of completeness and professionalism. It maks the map whole. It also joins objects or areas of similar attributes together, even if seperated by large map distances.
Visual connections between map elements are reinforced by aligning edges. Aligment also provides visual organization that is pleasing to readers.
Related items should be placed together to create grouped elements. This logical grouping helps organize map objects and provides structure to the map.
Apply these principles to maps...
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