MapCarte 162/365: An American Watershed by John Grimwade, 2003

MapCarte162_grimwadeMany maps are designed for multiple purposes and, increasingly, basemaps and other core maps that sit behind thematic overlays are designed with flexibility in mind. However, they are rarely designed for the specific task in hand and that can often result in a compromise between the graphical structure, colour and typography of the basemap and whatever someone else is placing atop.

One-off maps don’t suffer these potential problems from a cartographic design perspective. The map-maker can literally begin with a blank canvas and design the whole range of information to act harmoniously. Here, John Grimwade has created a beautiful medium scale map of the Everglades in Florida CA used in a Condé Nast Traveler magazine article. His use of colour is particularly impressive because with an extremely limited pallete he’s managed to imbue the map with rich detail and character. He uses white linework to great effect and dark greys and a rusty red for accents and hierarchy. The composition works well with clear insets and a graphic at the foot of the page that explains the ecology in cross-section.

One-off maps have the scope to be more attuned to the cartographic task in hand rather than relying on the hit-and-miss of mashing up a map using third-party maps. Done well they can provide delightful single-purpose maps.

More of John Grimwade’s excellent work on his web site here.