Mapping & Diagramming

Making Sense

Maps and diagrams are not pictures but are appreciated aesthetically. Maps and diagrams ‘make’ sense. Making sense means producing sensibility. They are devices that enable us to act. We can map dreams, ideas, and thoughts. Maps are closed systems. They are representative. Maps write a place onto our consciousness. We cannot conceive of the ‘world’ without the use of maps.

Contextual Research

Kim Dingle

The U.S., Drawn from Memory – Big Think

This work is about someone’s understanding of the country they live in. Kim Dingle asked American participants to draw USA from memory. The drawings were on tracing paper so the artist could trace them onto a panel and paint them with oil paints.

I really liked this work. I felt inspired to approach today’s group project in a similar way where each person’s perspective is represented in the mapping process.

Adam suggested plotting a journey from memory and overlaying it with the real map.

Maps of Canada drawn from memory by American citizens
Oil on Canvas, 1990

These maps of Canada are less accurate than the maps of USA because the students were drawing another country.

Kim Dingle | “Maps”

Guy Debord

The way somewhere is mapped makes you see a place differently.

Memoires is a book published in 1959. It was made in collaboration between 2 Situationist artists: Guy Debord and Asger Jorn. The book cover was made with sandpaper, so that when it is placed on a shelf, it destroys the books on either side.

I like the position of elements within the pages, for example the rotation of the text and images. This gives the work energy, helped by the splashes of colour. In this page, we see sections of maps and images of places. I like the combinations of these perspectives. They add to a sense of place.

both image from:
The lines of text act as directional lines, connecting one element to another.

Susan Hiller

Susan Hiller was an American conceptual artist. I was drawn to 2 of her artworks in particular. Monument is an art installation containing 41 photos of memorial plaques that the artist came across in one location in London. The memorials are for civilians who died from acts of heroism. The fact that she has enlarged the images could say that she is drawing focus to the importance of these people so they are not forgotten.

Hiller has arranged the photos into an diamond formation and placed a park bench in front of them where the viewer listens to a soundtrack of the artist speaking about heroism and death. I see the diamond shape as a cross which symbolises death in itself.

Monument 1980-1 Susan Hiller born 1940 Purchased 1994

“Dedicated to the Unknown Artists 1972–6 consists of fourteen panels containing over three hundred original postcards depicting waves crashing onto shores around Britain. A large map annotated with each of the locations featured in the postcards is included in the first panel. The remaining panels have been subjected to what the artist has described as her ‘methodical-methodological approach’ (quoted in ‘Second Sight’ 2007, accessed 14 June 2018) and are organised into grids of postcards and tabulated details such as location, caption, legend, in vertical or horizontal format.”

Daniel Masterman

University of Lincoln, Third Year Design Project. May 2012

“The proposed scheme is centred around creating new and exciting routes for people to travel along, whether it be through walking or cycling. The introduction of a bridge means this flow of movement is more continuous and links in with the Robin Hood Chase; which is the most commonly travelled route in St Anns. The buildings themselves offer bicycles that can be rented and used for travelling into the city, as well as workshop spaces where local people can drop in and learn how to repair common issues such as puntures.”

Guillermo Kuitca

Guillermo Kuitca is a contemporary Argentine artist best known for his paintings of geographical maps and architectural plans. Although Kuitca’s works are not overtly political, their theatrical nature seems to reference themes of loss and migration.”

David Hockney

Drawing with the camera. It is possible to utilise the camera in an interesting way to draw maps. David Hockney uses the camera is a tool, a medium. The accidental grid form is uncannily diagrammatic.

Group work

We were given until 3pm to produce a map, as a group of 4. Faced with the question: ‘How could you produce a map?’ Each of us was given a different medium that could be interchanged depending on our preference. The categories were: Line drawing, colour, words, photography.

Walking around campus, we had the task of mapping the area. This could mean capturing the details (the small) or the big areas you would find on a traditional map. Playing with scale. I really like this idea of focusing on the details and showing their importance in our surroundings/ environment. We were asked to think big and to think weird. We did this by drawing onto an A2 piece of paper and approaching the map with looseness. Our lecturer Adam made a grid template on illustrator that we had the choice of using or rejecting.

We had the option of merging the medium, for example:  words with photography or colour and photography. Our first ideas were to make line drawings of campus from memory. We thought of layering these with the actual map of the campus. Photographing words and colours were a way of capturing the smaller details around us. We thought about combining the words and colours together and pairing them up like with the museum of the ordinary framing task in module 003.

We each drew our interpretations of the campus from memory. We used a different colour marker for each group member. This meant that the viewer could differentiate the separate maps and follow one of their choice. The basis of this idea came from the United Shapes of America project by Kim Dingle, where people were asked to draw a map outline of their country from memory. People’s interpretations were all different but my map made sense to me because it came from my own perspective.

I photographed the drawings and printed the page at A3 size. This meant that there was space around the image to paste the photographs. We decided on having a few larger images and most of them smaller. The larger images stood out and would be more helpful to a viewer, as a map because the photos were of larger areas and paths around campus, compared to the smaller details that would not help you find your way.

Placing the images around the outside of the line drawings, served as a visual representation of each area of the campus. The use of arrows suggests to the viewer where they can find the photographed locations on campus.

I think maybe we tried to do too much in one place. My understanding of the task was that we needed to include all the mediums in one map. I think this is why the map looked busy.

Our feedback from Adam was that he would have preferred us to use a digital approach. He also wanted us to be bolder in our design decisions. The example he gave was Stephen Willats work, where he presents photographs with connecting lines to represent relationships between the images. His work is readable as a map and yet it looks nothing like a traditional map.

After the workshop, I placed a selection of the photos I had taken into an illustrator document. I re-arranged them into an images that ‘made sense’. Both images explain the journey from Headington Hill Hall on campus, to the Richard Hamilton Building.

This map starts with the starting destination at the top of the page. The instruction is then to turn left then stop. The bikes show where you will arrive.

The text at the top tells the viewer where to start. The lines leads the viewer down the page while also illustrating the next object you would need to find on the journey to know you are heading in the right direction.

The third image shows wet footsteps on the floor. They ‘walk’ to the left and the fourth image. This is a photo I took of a faded arrow painted onto the car park tarmac. The final photo was taken by my classmate and shows the destination to reach using this map.

We were introduced to the brief for the rest of the semester.

  • Produce a map
  • Think about conventional uses of maps and diagrams then think about how you can be innovative.
  • Think about how forensic architecture does it
  • Plan before you start. Know when to stop
  • Designate time to work on it around your other commitments e.g. do 3 hours of experimentation in the studio on Thursdays. Then move onto the next stage of the plan.
  • Brainstorm
  • Then define what is more interesting e.g. screenprinting or using photography etc
  • Develop multiple formal elaborations.
  • Then deliver
  • Document all in the process book– keep your progression contained within these spreads
  • Mindmapping– free association, there are no bad ideas. Keep this mind map as it is visually already a map.
  • Make the map large. Could do the bookbinding maps.
  • Most important that you try stuff out and research first to show it is informing your work

Bookbinding- Maps

We looked at the way maps are put together. For example, Ordnance survey maps are made up of one large piece of paper, folded multiple times with a cover glued to 1 of the folded sections.

1922 Old OS Ordnance Survey Popular Edition One-Inch Map 79 Llandrindod Wells | eBay

We also thought about being creative with our book designs. Our lecturer Ruth showed us examples. One collection I was really impressed by, was by a designer who had made a series of small pamphlet-like books and collected them together into a box which held them together. I like the way the designer chose a different colour for each book. The theme for the collection was around mapping. One of the books was about places he had nearly been to, one contained pixelated image of the UK, each square was a different colour and given a different name to each, which corresponded to the place on the map. I thought this was really creative and inventive.

2016 Work – Annwyn Dean

Concertina style book by Annwyn Dean. (embroiderer, book artist and printmaker based in Yorkshire).

The concertina style is appropriate for showing a series of photos, or a long print that is printed across the pages. She adds string to tie the book together.

The main method we focused on was creating a book using folds instead of stitching, gluing, or any other method of binding. The advantage of this is that you could include one large picture within smaller packaging. These large pictures when folded up into these books, could be read as a book by turning each page or could be folded out to show the full image.

A design by Madebysix, who are a design studio based in Leicester. Image from Six (

How to make books by Esther K. Smith
How to make books by Esther K. Smith

I had a go at making the ‘Three instant accordions’ style book. I first folded the paper in half.

I folded it in half again. I kept folding until I had 8 equal sized rectangles.

When folding thick paper, it is sometimes necessary to re-fold back in the opposite direction. Here, I aligned the centre folds together. The centre fold acted as a marker, so I did not have to check along the edge to see if the paper was lined up.

I then needed to plan out where to cut the paper. I decided on a pattern that would spiral inwards. This felt logical, but meant that I ended up with an asymmetrical piece of paper. I used scrap paper to draw the above plan for my work. The black pen indicates the cuts and the blue spiral represents the direction I wanted the pages to run in. I used the paper knife to cut the paper. The challenge was to avoid cutting off sections that need to remain intact. I found the knife was quite sharp and hard to control when to stop the cut. It was challenging to create a neat cut and avoid tearing the paper.

The second thing I needed to be mindful of is the folding after the paper had been cut. I needed to alternate between folding one way and then the other way. I thought of it as folding under then over, under then over and so on.

How to make books by Esther K. Smith

The next task was to make a cover for my book. This helps to protect the book, maybe not from water but from general use. To start, I created the spine by folding the paper twice. I looked at the thickness of my book first to see how wide I needed the spine to be.

My book ended up with a landscape page at the front and back of the book. I needed to cut off a section of the cover to make it fit best. I found this part of the workshop the most complicated and difficult part. I understood the steps when they were explained to me, but to make one myself is a different thing.

The first and last page slip into the cover without the use of glue or any binding. This means I can easily remove the cover and replace it.

I then made a smaller book with the same kind of paper. The paper felt tougher because I was folding smaller areas. This book has square pages instead of rectangle. I made a second plan. This time. I planned a symmetrical pattern to cut.

This square book became a sampler of bookmaking techniques:

I added a section using thin red paper. I cut the paper to the same height as the page of my book. I then folded it into thirds so that it would be a concertina style pull-out piece. I used double-sided tape to attach it to the book.

I used thin blue paper to attach a sheet that I can open out and tuck away. I cut it into a perfect square, larger than a page of the book. I folded it into triangles and stapled it to the spine of the book. Using thin paper meant that I would be able to fold it into the book without it causing the book to buckle.

When I folded the paper into the book, there were triangular corners that stuck out.

I cut the corners off with the scalpel. This created an octagon.

I then stuck a strip of grey paper into the book. I allowed the middle to fold inwards. This meant that the paper sticks out when the book is opened.

Another technique I did not have time to add is the bellyband. There are easier and more complicated ways to make a bellyband. They hold the pages closed and can be removed as a book cover can be.

How to make books by Esther K. Smith

I read this book as part of my bookbinding research.

Digital Workshop- Mapping

Workshop: ‘Topographics’

From Idea Generation by Neil Leonard
What is a map?

It is an image. But not just an image. A map is an informative graphic. Something you need to interpret. How can we map something? How could we map our thoughts? How about a physical landscape?

A straight line says nothing, but adding an arrowhead to one end says something. It is suddenly a map. Something to read. It indicates something to us.

An image that isn’t a map, is abstract.

Opening this image of a map of Oxford in adobe illustrator, allowed me to explore different manipulations and ways of drawing a map.

I began by pulling different areas from the map. To do this, I first selected Image trace> 16 colours. This turned the map into a vector image instead of an image made from pixels. All the lines appeared smooth when I zoomed into the image.

Expand completes the action of turning it into a vector. This also allowed me to move the different pieces separately.

Command + shift + G ungroups the image.

To be able to grab all the areas of 1 colour, I needed to select:

Select > same> fill colour

I could then click and drag to take out these separate pieces of colour.

I then played with the other image options:

Converting the image into line art gave me new options for experimentation. I clicked and drag on small areas of the image to separate the lines, lifting areas out of the map. The gaps in the map below left are areas I had taken out of the image:

The shape on the right was created from taking the small area from the map. I pressed Command + J to join the lines together. I then clicked the small arrow beside the stroke and fill colour squares. This inverted the colour and filled my shape with black instead of the black outline.

I then copied and pasted the shape into adobe photoshop. This allowed me to work on it further and turn the image into a bitmap. I needed to make sure the pieces were in a formation I liked before pasting it into photoshop. This is because it is very difficult to rearrange the pieces once the shape is pasted into photoshop.

pathfinder> divide takes the shape apart.

pathfinder> unite sticks the shapes together like glue.

pathfinder> group allows you to move the shapes around together but they do not become the same object.

My first step was to bevel/emboss the shape. I selected Layer> layer style> bevel & emboss, as shown in the screenshot below:

This allowed me to play with the height and texture of the shape. I chose the leaf pattern as I liked the rough texture it produced.

The image needs to be in greyscale before you can bitmap it. I bitmapped the image and chose ‘diffusion dither’ to create the grainy filter. I saved the image as a TIFF file.

Back into Illustrator, I took another shape from within the line art of the Oxford map. I used this for my outline. I repeated the previous process of joining the lines and filling the shape with colour. This time, I removed the fill and the outline, so the shape was transparent. I selected ‘draw inside’ and Command+ shift+ p, to place an image inside the shape. (this is the shortcut within illustrator, in InDesign, we would use command+shift+D)

In this case, I wanted to place my bitmapped image inside this new shape. I selected the TIFF file and clicked to place it inside. Because this image is a bitmap, I was able to change the colour of it. I also tried rotating and enlarging the image from within the shape.

Another technique for image producing. I drew a shape using the pen tool on Illustrator. I then drew another shape within this shape. I selected object> blend> make. I needed to change the stroke colour to black, to be able to see another shape appear between the 2 I had drawn. By then selecting object> blend>blend options>specified stops and increasing the number, I could create multiple identical lines within my image as shown here:

The image looks quite 3D and could be describing a gradient.

I duplicated the shape by holding down ‘option’, clicking and dragging. I changed the colour of this second shape and rotated it so that it was upside down. I placed the shape so that they intersect. I increased the transparency so that it is possible to see through the lines to the other shape:

I printed the image of the shape that had multiple lines. I used this print to scan onto the computer. Instead of doing a simple scan of the drawing, I wanted to make it interesting.

I moved the image around on the scanning bed as the scanner moved across it. This created a wavy image where the lines moved in different directions. From this scan, (I saved it as a TIFF file) I could manipulate the image further in Illustrator.

This image was made from the scan.

I remove lines from my scan by grouping the image, so that it was a vector image. I added arrowheads using the arrowhead tools on the right hand side of the page. To create the above effect, I selected object> blend> make. By selecting blend options, again I could alter the number of linen repetitions.

arrowhead options

Aliyah Hussain

Aliyah Hussain is a UK based design whos work is multi disciplinary.

Her work is focused on collage but also incorporates screen-printing techniques, painting, photography and performance.

Her work unites futuristic utopian elements with a retro and hand-made aesthetic. Her use of line is bold and directional. In the above piece, I can see the pressure she has used on the pencil. The lines coming from the centre mask image implies to me a kind of mind map, where the ideas are directly linked to the face in the middle. Who might this face be representing? Is it a signifier of a collection of people in general?

There are areas of business and action, combined with white space where the eye can rest. I like the hand-made feeling that this has been jotted down in a notebook to record something important that the artist needed to remember. It has that rushed and urgent sense to it that we might find in a journal.