These typographic maps are the real deal. Although typographic maps are not a new idea, few are created manually. Even fewer possess the degree of quality seen here. These maps of Boston and Chicago were meticulously created from text by their designers — Andy Woodruff, Ben Sheesley, and Mark Harrower, of Axis Maps .
According to the design team in an e-mail, there were “tons and tons of design considerations.” The maps comprise nearly all upper case text for consistency and to “minimize white blank space.” Multiple “typefaces, colors, and sizes” were employed to illustrate the various features.
Close attention to detail was necessary while placing the text over OpenStreetMap frameworks in Adobe Illustrator, said the team. For example, the team noted that the danger of typographic rivers created by repeated text was avoided on the maps — except where rivers actually exist, of course!
The hardest part may have been deciding when to finish the project. “After putting so much into these, it’s really hard to let go,” said the design team. “A labor of love” is how they characterize the project on their website. Given the quality of the final product, that’s easy to see.