Jeannie and Daniel's World

Jeannie and Daniel's World - student project

My boyfriend Daniel and I first started dating when we were both attending high school in Tokyo. We've lived in many separate places since (before settling into Chicago, where we live now), and our relationship has been through a lot of ups and downs.

I want to create a map (or possibly series of maps) that shows how distance/location/limited time together affected our relationship.

We don't live in the same apartment/house now, but our apartments are very close by and we are planning to (finally!) move in together in the summer. This project will eventually become my move-in gift to him.



  • Why am I making this map? For fun? A client? A gift? To showcase my favorite places? Etc.
    I'm making this to show my boyfriend Daniel the geographical distance that our love has endured, and how happy I am that we can finally just be together.

  • Why am I the expert to create this map?
    It's either me or Daniel, and I'm the graphic designer.  :)

  • Who is my target audience?
    The primary audience is Daniel, of course, but I think it'll also help me recognize just how much he means to me!

  • Do I want my final project to be printed or digital? How is going to be used/held? What other constraints do I need to keep in mind moving forward? (Note type can be smaller on printed maps than when viewed on web)
    I'm thinking either a series of small prints/illustrations, or a handmade and -bound book of maps. (I might make enough maps to fill a book and then ask him to pick his favorites for me to replicate and frame)

  • What level of detail do I need to include? (Names, addresses, contact info, street names, website, hours, descriptions, color coding, etc.)
    This is what I'm not sure of--I'm a stickler for accuracy so I'll want to keep things as "to scale" and accurate as possible, but do I want to only show geographic locations and routes? Or do I want to include explicit references to emotional markers?

  • Dear class, I need your help/expertise/guidance on how to.....
    - either maintain accuracy OR be more relaxed about it (i.e. be willing to explore the axes of my own Mercatur map, when my instinct drives me towards the strict, physical, realistic accuracy of the Gals-Peters Projection map)
    - be neater! My handwriting and -drawing are not that bad, but boy are they messy.
    - be selective about what details to include. I'm a chronic oversharer, so feedback on what details are compelling vs. what details are boring/awful = very helpful. 
    - make these maps acceptable for audiences that aren't my boyfriend/keep these maps out of "creepy" territory


WEEK 1: Hand-drawn Maps

Jeannie and Daniel's World - image 1 - student project

A map I drew just to get myself started, showing a handful of my favorite lunch locations near my work. (This has nothing to do with Daniel, but I don't think it's a bad map, so I've included it.) 

Jeannie and Daniel's World - image 2 - student project

A map showing various public transit routes Daniel would have taken to visit me at my south side and north side apartments (I forgot to show a cab between O'Hare and Jeannie's Apt. Aug 2011-present!), and the quick bus route we are from each other now.

Jeannie and Daniel's World - image 3 - student project

Routes we would have taken to visit one another when we were in college in Boston and NYC. (His family currently lives in the suburbs of Boston, and moved there while we were both in college, so I would see him in the summers and when he'd come home for holidays and weekends.) I like the look of this map a lot, with the variety of routes and methods of transit I've used--I hope I can come up with more maps like this one.

Jeannie and Daniel's World - image 4 - student project

A handful of the many air routes we've traveled together/separately to see one another. (As I put so eloquently in my notes: "How separate different trips on same rte?" How do I show the directions of travel of each person, and how do I distinguish between, for instance, my Feb 2011 NYC trip and my May 2012 NYC trip? Or, do I bother? Do I want to emphasize the trips, or the routes?)

Jeannie and Daniel's World - image 5 - student project

(Sorry about the mess! Please ignore the green ink if you can, that was my first draft.) Here's a rough map/floor plan of my apartment the night that Daniel and I had sex for the first time, with some notes as to the circumstances. (Which I realize is too much information for you, probably, but it's important to me, so here it is. Also, sidebar: "Wizard People" is great, if a really unusual choice if you're planning on having sex with someone afterwards [which we weren't; that's my excuse]. Please watch it)

Jeannie Harrell

Graphic Designer / Well-meaning Layabout