Integrating maps and map shapes into other designs has been a popular approach in graphic design for decades. This isn’t pure cartography but it’s the use of cartographic design and products to emphasise another design or to create a juxtoposition. This woodcut, possibly from as early as the 1500s though more likely a nineteenth century example due to the angled lines, illustrates a Holstein Fresian with it’s distinctive black and white hide in the design of the British Isles. The northern coastline of France is also included for cartographic completeness!
The beauty of such images is that at first glance they appear perfectly ordinary. The markings have to be ‘seen’ but when they are, they become impossible not to see. Maps are incredibly flexible and their use extends far beyond their cartographic purpose. They are fantastic when used in other art and graphic design projects. They do not have to be complex either…as this wonderful whimsical example shows.