Mapping errands

I wanted to map a journey for the set project Making Sense. I decided to map my errands because this was a mundane task near to where I live.

My first idea had been to map journeys I regularly took in the past. The problem with this, is I would have to travel further to get close to the subject. (Mapping from memory would likely prove inaccurate.)

On Wednesday 17th November 2021, I went on a journey for errands in Oxford.

To document my experience, I took notes in my notebook of the sounds, smells, sights and my route. I took photographs that I found interesting, that I felt said something or showed where I was. I imagined I was tying to show the way to someone who needed to follow the same journey and maybe doesn’t know the area.

I started the journey from my doorstep

When writing, I focused on the facts and details. This was an interesting experience for me because when usually on errands, I am either letting my thoughts drift or putting my opinion on everything I see.

Taking the journey in this way, felt mindful and freeing. I felt this exercise would be a good exercise for creative writing.

Richard Long

Richard Long is an artist from Bristol, UK. He creates work out in nature. His first artwork of this kind was made when he was still a student in the 1960’s. He was rolling a snowball down a hill in winter. Looking back up the hill, he saw the dark path of visible earth the snowball had created over the ground. The track left on the white landscape inspired him to continue making art in this way, to show the mark he has left across a landscape for example.

The geometric lines in this piece, signify stopping and moving. The viewer can make a comparison between the two as the two canvases are displayed side by side.

from Richard Long: Heaven and Earth
from Walking in circles by Richard Long

In 3 lines of text, the artist illustrates his walk. We are told where, what and when. The simplicity of the design makes the piece easy to read. He uses arrows to draw the wind direction. Although there are no natural colours in this piece, I can picture the green of nature because I know that Dartmoor is green, open and hilly because I have driven through there.

In this map, Long has used a photo of a landmark, words and lines. The combination of these elements helps us to build up a picture of the journey being mapped. He tells us about walking times and this tells us that the action was walking.

Here he has mapped the rivers across England and Wales following 1 route. The choice of blue for the text helps to signify water:

The circular formation of the words suggests the artist may have been walking in a circular route. He focuses on the things he has seen , what he has experienced and the days that have passed on the journey:

The word ‘splash’ is used to signify each time the artist has thrown a stone into the sea or river:

Here, Long has mapped his early morning island walk. Although the words are displayed in lists, each list gets shorter, which forms a kind of diagonal path across the page:

Mapping Research 2

After being given the brief, I wanted to learn more about how information can be mapped and exactly what a map is. I wanted inspiration for my final map and looked at the following books.

Idea Generation by Neil Leonard
mapping physical space and movements.
mapping instruments in a song.
A Century of Graphic Design by Jeremy Aynsley
self portrait that maps information about the person.
words, symbols and connecting lines.
the position and order of the words creates a map in this poster. The boxes and lines help direct the reader.
Design Literacy by Steven Heller
Shooting targets are a map of a body for the person to aim at.
arrows are a strong directional symbol. What they point at tells us the meaning.

When creating a map of a place, the designer has the challenge of condensing information into a clear and readable format.

I drew up a mind-map to help me generate ideas for my final map. (A map about mapping). I used the ‘MindView’ program to create this map: