Introduction: The following proposal outlines my ideas for a book
of maps of Manhattan. These maps will present a broad range of
information, primarily useful but also arcane. The book should be not
only for reference but also have curiosity value. It will familiarize
the average Manhattanite, new-comer or native, with the wonders and
practicalities of this great city.
Design: The book may be designed as a spiral bound. There should be approximately one hundred maps included. The paper should be a crisp dull-coat white stock. The graphics should be high-tech but retain the charm and grace of hand-made maps. They can be produced on computer or done by hand, as were the accompanying maps originally published in The New York Observer.
The maps ought to be self-explanatory although there can be accompanying writing. Photographs are another possible addition. There should be a Table of Contents, which I will describe later, an Appendix and an Index.
The Appendix should list each denoted place alphabetically by
proper name, with full address and phone number. Various hours or
other comments can be included here. The Appendix can be at the end
of the book, or can occupy the left hand page opposite the related
Sources: The design of the Base Map of Manhattan is an original
graphic depiction using non-copy written maps from the United States
Geological Service as the original source. Coastal charts from the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and various land use
maps from the NYC Department of City Planning and from the Geologic
department of the Office of the Manhattan Borough President are
also useful. Accuracy is essential. A first hand knowledge of the
city is helpful and necessary.
Composition: Composition of the individual maps allows the opportunity to explore a variety of mapping styles and techniques. This variety should best occur within the framework of a consistent outline and format of Base Map.
In composition, various elements such as titles, legends, detail boxes, scales and acknowledgements are moved about and treated with respect to their relative visual and contextual importance. All elements should be balanced and in proper relation to each other.
The different formats and styles developed to represent
different kinds of information should be consistent with one another.
As much as possible, all information of names and addresses (streets)
should be labeled directly on the map. Key numbers and arrows should
only be resorted to when absolutely necessary.
Graphics: The graphic elements of cartographic design are many. Clarity and legibility are prerequisite. Contrast, involving the use of varying lines and shapes and different combinations of pattern and value, is important in determining hierarchies and insuring readability.
The initial perception of a map is determined by the balance of
its elements and especially by the layout and the nature of its
figure-ground relationships. Through contrast and differentiation of
color, value, form, contour, texture and size, priorities are
established and emphases become apparent.
Typography: Cartographic typography is a very important design
element. Symbols can be considered along with type. Style, form,
color and size of type and symbols need to be considered in depth, as
must the positioning of the lettering and the determination of names
and the use of abbreviation. Again, a consistent format or rule of
usage must be developed.
Color: Color can be a symplifying and clarifying element; it is also an unifying agent and is fundamental in attracting and holding attention. Color is very subjective, yet it can somewhat be described in terms of hue, chroma and value. Contrast and clarity are achieved by varying these elements.
Since the map is a singular graphic depiction of Manhattan and the borders do not vary from page to page, though the style may change, color is one element that may be used to enhance the communication of information and assist in creating variety.
While the map graphics should look high-tech, computer made or
not, the color should be low tech and drawing on the vast history of
map-making, use traditional American earth and watertones. These rich
colors and their subtle tints and shades should be used liberally
along with judicious use of luminous color.
Time Frame: Initial design decisions must be made to determine the style of the book. A list of subjects must be determined.
The preliminary design stage will be organized around the development of a prototype map. With this map the designer will determine the fundamental organization of the communication objectives and the presentation of the graphic elements.
Primary decisions will be made regarding various forms of symbolism, lettering styles, area patterns, color, layout and other important design elements.
After the development of the prototype Base Map, there will be preparation and organization of research material. Then there will be drafting and mechanical or computer artwork.
I estimate the entire project could be completed in a year. As much of the work is already done, it might be possible to rush this. But for the sake of excellence, it should be redone.