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a guide to MTL

thinking it out.

I have wanted to make a map for a long time, and have been dreaming of the map I would make since the idea first occurred to me.  more often a dreamer than a doer, I was lucky to have a map project find it's way to me, courtesy of a very talented MTL bloggeuse.

I hope this will be the first of many maps... but here goes.

the bloggeuse (I'll call her "B") has already provided the points of interest, along with clever write-ups about each spot... so now it's my turn to translate her version of MTL into something visual that reflects her aesthetic, my own design style, as well as the city itself.  it is an opportunity for her to reflect on her city while reaching out to her readers, and a chance for me to find out if I like map-making as much as I dream I will.  I am a self-taught graphic designer who is only just setting out on my career journey, but I think she has trusted me with this challenge because I know her style, and because we can be honest with one another as the project progresses... and she's just awesome like that.  maybe I'll even include some of her feedback here.

the recipients of this map will be young, stylish ladies & mothers, who love design and great food.  the map itself is meant to be more abstract rather than detailed, with a focus on MTL's neighbourhoods, and with potential to be continutally edited & added to; useful in the sense that it will provide lots of information, but less so in terms of actually navigating the city streets.  personally, I think this is a cool way to approach maps - leaving some room for adventure between points of interest.  the map will definitely be viewed electronically, but offered in print as well.

she's divvied up her points of interest by 2 - 3 categories, and by neighbourhood.  so some elements that will need to be included in the map are: 

  • neighbourhoods
  • POI
  • location & description of POI
  • major roads
  • major geographical features: water, parks, mountains...
  • a header with B's logo

inspirational map-makers.

Herb Lester & Associates - these guys are the best of the best in my opinion.  I love the illustrations, the themes, and that the maps are equal parts useful & beautiful (enough to hang on your wall).

These are Things - I'm super attracted to their aesthetic, their work is amazing, although their city maps are not as detailed as I am thinking for this project.  the breakdown into neighbourhoods is great though, they really did their research!

Driehoek - I adore the simple illustrations of these hand-drawn maps, and the personal journeys they depict. 

in general, I think B's style and mine intersect when it comes to clean lines/patterns, natural colour palettes, simple textures, and airiness.  I'm also attracted to, and tend to bookmark maps that are illustration-heavy (like Antoine Corbineau's monthly maps, but I'm not sure that's what I envision for this project.

I really like the simplicity and especially the idea behind the Scout Hike maps by Scouted.in.  

and Dondeguias.com's guide to Valencia has an awesome breakdown of neighbourhoods, with clean white lines, simple labelling & use of colour/texture.

ottawa, ON > tri-cities, WA.

mood board.

I have made lists galore for this project, but what was harder to put down on paper was the look & feel that I envisioned for the map... so I decided to make a mood board to help me work it out.  

I thought about B's design style first -- scandinavian with natural materials, a touch vintage, clean lines, geometric patterns (and stripes!), lots of white space but warm, with metallic touches.  I based the mood board on that, and found tons of awesome images to draw inspiration from!  this is my first mood board ever... and I will probably never do another project again without making one.

MTL google mapped.

neighbourhoods are outlined, with the colour of the points of interest corresponding to the hood.  but yikes!  we might need to pare down the number of POI a little... this would make for a very busy map.  

progress update > feb 26.

I've got a basic MTL map traced out in Illustrator, which will probably go through some changes yet... and I'm playing around with this colour palette:

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