So yesterday, my girlfriend, Kristina, and I were talking about maps. We probably do this more than the average person because we get lost a lot. She gets lost because she has a horrible sense of direction. I get lost because…well, I’m not sure. I would like to think I have a good sense of direction but it seems I can rarely find the places I need to get to. Thinking about it now, I’m going to say its because I go to new places a lot, especially now that I live in LA, and I get lost trying to find these new places because its hard to master the unknown. Isn’t that why a lot of people hate doing new things: they get lost a lot of times on the way?
Well, anyway, yesterday Kristina and I were talking about maps and I tried to say “topographic map” but at first only “typographic map” would come out. This may be because I say typography more often but I personally think “topography” is simply a hard word to pronounce.
When I was born, my tongue didn’t fully separate from the roof of my mouth. If doctors hadn’t done the surgery to detach the two, I probably wouldn’t be able to speak today. Growing up though, I had a difficult time speaking. I’m pretty sure my mom said that I didn’t actually start saying real words until I was 4. Supposedly, the only one who could understand the gibber jabber that came from my mouth was my sister, Spencer. The funny part about her is that even though she has never had a problem speaking, she still calls me by how I could pronounce “Shelby.” You see, like many hispanic people, I couldn’t say “Shelby.” We say “Chelby” or “Chubby.”
Growing up, I had to take a lot of speech classes to fix my problem. I would say “laddel” instead of “ladder,” “wolfs” instead of “wolves,” and “yearwy” instead of “yearly.” I eventually graduated from the classes and was able to normal. I do however get relapses in words sometimes, like the word “topography.” It catches me every time.
Well, when Kristina noticed my error, she thought of this blog entry that I could do. I should make a visual wordplay of “typography” and “topography.” She actually wanted me to make a map out of letters and punctuation. I’m still not sure what that would look like but I think my understanding of the task was way better. I made a topographic map that formed letters.
To make the map, all I did was outlined Gotham Black, added my own topographic lines with the pencil tool, and then added some details. The one thing that I learned from this project was the power behind rotating the subject matter.
I noticed this effect in a few projects I saw this week. Designers would just rotate this picture about 20° to create a sense of unease to the type or photo. I thought about it today because I was thinking about adding a compass rose to the piece. I decided that the compass would just take away from the type but what it did was make me think about the directions and our planet. North isn’t actually straight up. The planet is tilted so north is about 20°. We just visualize north as directly above us.