Cartographer's Toolkit

Map Making Tips, Tricks, and Inspiration

Handing Over a Map: Be Proactive

August 15th, 2012

Whenever you present a product to your client–whether it’s a series of mock-ups, an intermediate-stage product, or a finished map–be proactive by letting the client know what decisions were made and why those decisions were made with reference to the design. You want to essentially “announce” what you’ve done. There are two reasons for this:

(1) To thwart questions and negative comments. When the client understands upfront the rational basis for color choices, font choices, and overall design choices, they are more likely to agree with what you’ve done.

(2) Really good design is easy to ignore. People do like to say that no feedback is good feedback, but you want to get credit for those good decisions. Go ahead and explain how the map was made and your client will have a whole new understanding of your capabilities.

Remember, a great map (or any project for that matter) will come from one of three situations: a receptive client, a noble cause, or great subject matter. Seek these.



  • Ann says on: August 15, 2012 at 1:17 pm


    I really like this idea. It’s not until you have the “bad” feedback do you realize that this was exactly what you should have done. Otherwise you come off as defensive while explaining why you chose that color or font.

    An idea building on this might be to have a checklist that you run through (personally, not necessarily in front of the client) of things to include in your “announcement”. A list to jog your memory about what you should be exactly announcing. A font decision becomes old-hat to us and it seems that no one would question it. That is, until they do.

  • Gretchen says on: August 15, 2012 at 1:40 pm


    Ann-one time I used Georgia as the font for a map that was to go into a book. When the book’s editors got it they requested that it have a more common font. Yikes. (Georgia is widely used!)

Cartographer's Toolkit

Map Making Tips, Tricks, and Inspiration