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Monthly Archives: August 2016

Technology and the Art of Maps

Technology and the Art of Maps

Technology has changed publishing. And I’m not just talking about digital magazines or layout software or printing equipment. I’m talking about the what and why of its content. When I created a map for a magazine 15 years ago, for instance, it was extremely detailed. Every road was named, cross streets were included (at a minimum) and a detailed key was a necessity. This was the “style” because publishers expected readers to actually use the maps for navigation.

BMWMM32-mapsI remember discussing the elements of one map with a motorcycle magazine editor. Since some riders would tear out the page (or even photocopy it) to place into the clear pocket atop their tank bags for navigation, the map’s overall dimensions had to match the tank bag while the markers and text had to be easy comprehend at a glance.

Technology has changed that style, however. Today, editors expect a reader looking to follow a route will enter waypoints into their GPS. Maps have therefore become illustrations to accompany the story. They are simplified since readers are just using them for additional context as they read through article.

Which brings me to a couple of maps I created for the Fall 2016 BMW Motorcycle Magazine. You can see on the Oregon map just how simplified maps have become. The route is shown intersecting various cities and places but there are no other labels or crossing highways. Even the key is distilled down to a basic state polygon with a box to show scale.

The second map takes up most of a page and shows the terrific journey along the entire length of Africa. It’s an epic odyssey and I wanted the size of the map to reflect that. Of course, the African continent is pretty large and the route from Cairo, Egypt to Cape Town, South Africa is mostly on it’s eastern edge so much of the map would be blank. Rather than waste this space, the unvisited countries were filled with images from the trip to create an interesting visual.

How Cool Is the Art Direction on These Ads from Mercedes-Benz?

mercedes-benz-lightingFrom Digital Synopsis:

Mercedes-Benz in Mexico has come up with two brilliant print ads to promote their Intelligent Light System that provides 60% more visibility on the road. The ads feature silhouettes of a cow and a deer standing in the middle of the road at night. The headlights of the Mercedes behind them are so bright that they create an “X-ray vision” of the insides of the animals.

Beautiful, funny and memorable ads that get their point across with a minimum of art. Excellent.

It’s a fine line though, which other companies need to keep in mind. These types of ads can be taken too seriously and then you run the risk of not delivering on your “promise.”

What Everyone Gets Wrong About What’s Wrong With The Newsstand

D. Eadward Tree at Publishing Executive:

For magazines, a subscription sale is far more valuable than a single-copy sale. A subscriber can be renewed (at higher rates), sold other subscriptions, signed up for newsletters, and lured to events. And her name can be rented to other publishers and marketers. (Shhh, don’t tell.) […]

There are many reasons to distribute copies for retail sale, and most have little to do with actually selling copies. One of the main benefits of newsstand distribution is finding new subscribers for a magazine, both from newsstand buyers and newsstand browsers.

Beyond Helvetica: Type is hot

Lucia Moses at Digiday:

Type is hot. Fonts are a booming business, as evidenced by a rise in font studios, independent designers and demand by brands and normals alike. Blue-chip companies like Ford and Citibank as well as storied publications like The Atlantic are commissioning custom fonts in search of a unique look. […]

At least 203 new type foundries were established from 2004 to midway into 2013, compared with 126 the previous decade, according to a census by Typographica, a reviewer of typefaces.

If you’ve been using the same font for a while, or simply chose a font because you happened to have it on your computer, now is a great time to check out your options. There are some really great typefaces out there from the unusual to modernized classics.

Print Ads are Trackable!

Ryan Dohrn at Niche Media (an event coordination company):

Are you tired of hearing that print ads or offline marketing is not trackable? Me too. In nearly all of my ad sales training workshops I hear sales reps say that is one of the most common objections from advertisers.

So, here is the answer.

If you’re looking to track the results from your print ads, Ryan has a few suggestions.

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