Studying at Reading has given me a major appreciation for the history of design. Recently, I’ve taken a bigger interest in cartography. The BBC has shown a fascinating series on The Beauty of Maps. They are able to conveniently draw from the British Library archive of 4.5 million maps who has had a brilliant exhibition earlier this year. Three particularly interesting maps, in my opinion are:
– Hereford Mappa Mundi, which is the largest existing medieval map made around 1300. (more info here)
– Descelier’s World Map of 1550, which amazingly shows “Australia” – a place that wouldn’t be discovered until much later after its creation. (more info here)
– Serio Comic Map of Europe at War, which is a political satire map made in 1877 by Fred Rose. (more info here)
There are many clips that can be viewed from the BBC’s website and it’s such an interesting perspective to see how people thought and envisioned the world at different points in history. Especially when you compare it to now, where Google Maps is pretty much all we use.
I happened to come across an interesting concept, which was auctioned for charity. Sketchtravel is a “sketchbook [that] was passed from one artist’s hand to another like an Olympic torch in an artistic relay through 12 countries over 4 and half years.”
What’s more is that it’s been in the hands of very talented artists and illustrators. Pretty cool, huh? Have a look for yourself:
I like how the website was done in HTML5. A copy of the book can be purchased on France’s Amazon site but only if you have a spare 30 euros to spend.
There are lots of apps such as TourWrist, which are starting to sway my stance on the value of tablets. What this app does is allows you to virtually visit many places around the world. It works first by collecting high quality & special panoramic photos from international photographers. Then you can then view a particular place with your computer/tablet’s screen as a window to the new place. Incredible, huh?
As part of the London Design Festival 2011, there was an exhibition called Designers Block which featured the works of over 100 young designers. Numerous graduates’ and freelance designers displayed their projects and work within various disciplines such as fashion design, interior design, and product/furniture design.
I was particularly impressed by the work of one graduate named Nadine Spencer. Her work is what I would call a modern chandelier. It’s laser cut pieces of landmark buildings & structures around the world, fit together to make a truly extraordinary piece.
The first photo was taken at the actual exhibition. The other two are from her website. It was certainly one of my favorites in the exhibition.
Here’s another one from fastcodesign. A Spanish designer, Carlos Romo Melgar, has created several maps, which he calls “Cosmographies.” They are incredibly detailed and intricate maps personalized to his own experiences. For example, they are composed of the sights and sounds that he has noticed while living in Madrid and from traveling.
The style does remind me somewhat of an earlier entry with certain a designer from Brazil. Wouldn’t you say?
Put together by the American Human Development Project, is a superbly executed interactive map which shows the health, education and income in the US. Aptly named, it’s the Measure of America. One can view a broad comparison but also filter by ethnicity and gender. Zooming in allows one to also see for instance, those with diabetes (% 18 or older) in a given city. I’m literally stunned at how well the data is presented. This is exemplary information design in my opinion: eye-catching, engaging, educational, and based on solid data.
As if the map itself was not enough, there’s even other features such as comparison by Charts, Stacks and what’s called the City Explorer. Since the creators realized that it may be overwhelming, they’ve also made a short tour to showcase the many possibilities. It’s definitely worth a visit!