X marks the spot

We all want to have a better understanding of our surroundings. What’s the landscape? What am I looking at here?
That’s probably why we design a lot of maps. It’s helpful to be able to show, at a glance, where everything is. In the same way that users hope to be able to navigate a communications piece based on photo captions alone, quick references and labels deliver information in an efficient way.
It’s a process we enjoy as a team, determining which orientation will work the best: isometric? Bird’s eye? Three-quarter? Creating custom illustrations and working through coloring issues are elements that we tackle together and the results are often award-winning standalone works.
Beyond function, a map of any given location can go a long way toward defining the experience and shaping expectations of the public. An example of this can be see on our recent approach to mapping High Falls Gorge in Wilmington, NY, when compared to previous versions. map
The first map depicts the property, trail system, and activity centers properly, but does little to create a sense of place.
property map
The second iteration makes good use of iconography and color coding, and is user-friendly.
We made the decision to redesign this component of the experience, in order to incorporate illustration. The goal was to bring in depth that communicates the excitement of the natural landscape. Branded elements and iconography help to build the newly redesigned High Falls Gorge look with color palette and signal art.
illustrated map
As a member of IAAPA and a destination needing to compete with amusement parks and larger diversions for tourist attention, our hope was to position the Gorge as a worthwhile activity that delivers on thrills and has amenities that matter to travelers.
illustrated map close up
We deconstruct our own on-property representations, too. Here’s a map for the Sacandaga Outdoor Center, circa 2008. Back then, the goal was to place SOC regionally, and let rafters know which river they’d be navigating.
Sacandaga Outdoor Center map
Now that the Outfitter is firmly established in the Lake George, Saratoga and Capital region (outdoor, advertising, collateral, online listings) our focus in 2016 was similar to the goals for High Falls Gorge: position the rafting trip as more than just a float down the river.
New Sacandaga Outdoor Center
Whether we’re updating artwork for college campuses, museums, ski mountains or municipalities, our goal is always to make the experience easier for a newcomer.