Maps Being Useful

I often rail against the use of maps. I often hear “They’re pretty!” or “They’re colourful!” or “But I really do know where Guatemala is!” or “I can see my house!”. They’re often just a crutch, unless you can use them to show an actual geographic distribution. Thankfully from Quartz we get a series of small multiple maps that look at the geographic distribution of top trading partners for a select set of geographies.

Global trade
Global trade

For this set, I think the colours could be the same and perhaps the chosen country perhaps outlined or otherwise signalled on the map. (Only because my utter lack of faith in people being able to identify countries on a map.) Still, it’s a good piece overall that makes nice use of maps.

Credit for the piece goes to David Yanofsky.

Author: Brendan Barry

I am a graphic designer who focuses on information design. My day job? I am the data visualisation manager for the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. (This blog is my something I do on my own time and does not represent the views of the Fed, blah blah blah legal stuff.) And with my main interest in information design—be it in the shape of clear charts, maps, diagrams, or wayfinding systems—I am fortunate that my day job focuses on data visualisation. Outside of work, I try to stay busy with personal design work. Away from the world of design, I enjoy cooking and reading and am interested in various subjects from history and geography to politics to science to the arts. And I allow all of them to influence my work.

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