capital crescent trail - the highlights! | Skillshare Projects

Rachel M

design enthusiast.



capital crescent trail - the highlights!




Why am I making this map? 

surrounding washington dc, there is a old abandoned railway that runs from the northmost peak of the city, through maryland, along the potomac river and ends in georgetown, dc. it has been converted to a bike/run/walk trail, and is very popular (the official map)

longest of stories short, the maryland gov't is intending to clear down all the loveliness of a dear-to-my-heart section of the trail to put in a commuter rail line (yes, they'll still have a trail, but it'll be a treeless concrete jungle.)


Who is my target audience? 

cyclists, runners & walkers. locals who live in the surrounding area, and are familiar with the trail. friends of DC. trail lovers. map enthusiasts!


Why am I the expert to create this map? 

two januarys ago, i took up running (and eventually biking), and the trail became my go-to place to do so. then a bit ago, i started a tumblr where i would post photos i took while out running or biking along the trail, so i could capture the reasons i love it

(take apeak here

i thought it might be fun to capture - in a map - some of my favorite highlights along the trail. while the section in danger of treelessness is only about a third of the entire "crescent", it seemed to make more sense to cover the entirety of it.


What level of detail do I need to include?  

i made a quick sketch of where my head's at (see below!). the "start" woud be at top-right, the end at the bottom.

haven't decided if i should also include nearby streets that are passed. or if i should just keep it playful. maybe there's a happy medium?

i also added another spot at the end (after i took the photo above) of a lovely grassy park where you can colapse and relax post-workout!

Do I want my final project to be printed or digital? How is it going to be used/ held? What other constraints do I need to keep in mind moving forward?  

haven't really acquired a plan for what the final format will be. perhaps it'll just be digial, so i can post it on the site. with more time.... i'd love the actually paint (maybe gouache?) or hand print the map. cut paper? maybe give/sell it as postcard sized? guess i need some direction....

- rachel



My original idea was to create a poster print, that you might use for framing. But while i still like that idea, and kinda picture it in my head, a new nugget popped up today: a long, foldable map that you could keep in your bike's saddle bag easily.

Let me give some details of the photo below, before you look at it. I'm picturing each section as being the size of a business card-ish. The dotted lines would be the fold. Instead of labling each location in words, I could letter them, or make some sort of icon? And then have a key or explaination on the back of the map. You can see the new sketch on the left. On the right, it's just the original sketch, but I put letters under each dot so I knew which was which.

You'll also note, I would have to force-straigten the curve of the trail, to fit the shap of the paper. Unless I did something silly like making it L-shapped (which could be cute, or a printing/cutting logistics nightmare if I wanted to make more that 5 of them).

I'm not sure - illustratively - what it'll look like just yet. Trying to pull together some inspriation.

Also, I think I'm going to need to go for a bike ride sometime this week, so I can make sure I got the order of locations correct, and to take note of where the mile makers are... hopefully, it doesn't rain and isn't 90 degrees out this week - both of which it likes to do and be in DC at this time of year...

- rachel



So... things are evolving. After thinking about it, it seemed anti-crescent-y to try to force the curve to straighten. But I still was intruiged by the idea of a folding map... enter the L-shaped map!

I picture each section as a square (hence the sketching on post-its), and to accordion fold the whole thing along the joints... with the upper right square facing out on top, and the bottomest square tucked under everything on the bottom of the stack. 

I tried to take a photo of an example, but it's kinda hard to see:

When it was still a straight map, I didn't I tend to have words on the front... just illustration. With a key on the back... not sure how that would work now, though..

So the questions are then: Does it need words at all? And the illustrations be a causal guide and the whole thing less structured? As you're meant to explore the trail for yourself? 

Thoughts are appreciated!

- rachel



working on sketching on watercolor paper... for future gouache-ing. 

and of course, the requisite instagraming:

thanks for all your help! & inspiration!

- rachel

ps. in the way, way, way back of my head, i'm starting to debate a color palette. dont want it to be too busy.



hey guys!

started playing around with execution options. today, i was fussing around with gouache. i dunno. seems messier than i want it to be, but i probably just need to practice some more. colors arent where i want them to be either. hrm. also feeling like i should have made the whole thing bigger...

- rachel


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