Graphic Design- The MAP Problem
The MAP Problem (from “Visual Literacy” by Wilde and Wilde)

The Project: By definition, a map is a flat-surfaced pictorial represention of the earth or the heavens. Using the idea of a MAP as a point of departure, students will visually and creatively describe a route frequently travelled over distance.

Some examples of a MAP could be:

  • The route from where they live to the school in the morning,
  • The route to visit Grandma's (Uncle's, Dad's, Best Friend's) house
  • The route to College Avenue on a Friday night
  • The route to work at Taco Bell, (Best Buy, Heritage Market) etc.
  • I might even except the route from your bedroom to the fridge to make a bowl of ice cream in the middle of the night, if the student can make the map visually interesting.

Consider incorporating elements associated with maps, such as a legend, a compass, or visual representations of the land or landmark features. There are no limitations regarding the use of color or imagery.

Analysis: The medium of a map, which can be understood as a graphic guide, is fertile ground for discovering and developing personal problem-solving strategies. By focusing on the charting and the plotting of comings and goings and exploring all aspects of what a map can represent, the personal travel experience can produce innovative design solutions that extend well beyond the traditional map concept.

This problem's uniqueness lies in the connection between the two given points of a journey and the time-sequenced visual documentation that follows. The idea of what is actually being communicated (moving from one place to another) is of secondary importance here- the critical aspect is not WHAT, but HOW.

WORDS OF ADVICE: To complete this project, students will need to think of the process of getting to a destination: think street grids or highways or landmarks or stops along the way or colors of objects or types of vehicles or times to travel or processes. Try to make this as colorful and creative as possible.

CANVAS SIZES: Please execute these canvases at 1000 x 1000 pixels. If you wish to alter the shape of your map solution to be taller or wider, you may, but please keep the general size in the 1000 pixel range.

SAMPLES FROM WILDE'S BOOK: (In Wilde's book, all MAPs were from the students house to the school in the morning.)

Submission: As always, save your completed canvas as a JPEG and make sure it is in your MAP_Problem folder for grading!

Grading: This assignment will be worth 100 points. If the student demonstrates care, creativity and thought in the creation of their solution, they will receive 100 points. Sloppy, uncreative and rushed work will receive 50 points. Uncompleted projects will receive 0/100 points.