Making one of our maps is a bona fide labour of love
We spend months on exhaustive data collation, development and detailed design work followed by scrupulous checking and editing, which can take upwards of six months. And that's before we even think about printing.
We gather our data from a variety of sources. Depending on the area the map will cover this could mean buying a full data-set or compiling the information from open-source origins. Pulling together all the elements can be a long process requiring the exacting patience of a diligent detective. Once we've located all the ingredients, we can start building the map in Adobe Illustrator.
THE DESIGN PROCESS - MAKING IT LOOK BEAUTIFUL
Whilst compiling a map is all about putting in information, it's just as paramount to decide what to leave out so as to avoid the map looking crowded or unreadable. Once the level of information is right, we can set about the task of making it beautiful. Fonts, design, colours; we spend a lot of time getting these just right. Then with a great deal of patience, attention to detail, and with a meticulous love of curving text perfectly round a road or river, we spend months on end making it beautiful.
Of course, no map is worth its salt unless it is up-to-date and correct. And now is when we bring our uber-conscientious and nit-picking cartographic editor into play. With a digitally printed proof (note the dull lacklustre colours of a CMYK print) she sets about correcting, de-bugging and generally pulling the map into shape. A printed proof also gives us a full-scale view of the whole map, which a screen will just not allow. This is where we can fully assess the overall design, amount of information included and pick up on any errors.
PRINTING & FINISHING
Now the map is finally ready to be brought to life by our expert printers. We use a lithographic process which lays down each coloured ink in an individual layer. This process allows us to use specially mixed inks like the metallic, luminescent and super-bright pigments we have become known for.
To add that extra bit of swank, we add a gloss varnish. On our world, country and continent maps this is on the landmasses and on the city maps it varies. It’s applied in a screen print process and is the finishing touch that adds that opulent feel to the paper print.
Find out more about this stage here: How we print a map.
Once we get the maps back to the studio a number are sent off to a specialist company to be coated in thick plastic. For the magnetic maps we mount them on a flexible rubber backing which contains iron filaments. This essentially turns them into a semi-metal surface to which the magnets will cling. Each order is handled on an individual level and framed orders are made up per order.
The good ship Future Mapping is a small and friendly one. We're very hands on with every aspect of the business. And we love to hear from our customers, so please do give us a holler if you've got any questions, or just want to say hello.