Diagramming Experience

Map illustration detail

This was the very first project our class was assigned in design school. Take a walk in a prescribed location, and then make a map of the experience.


Here’s my (slightly embarrassing) unedited write up from that time:

September 15, 2005

Project 1 Brief

The purpose of this project, as far as I see it, is to make an observation, to turn that observation into a statement, and to communicate clearly that experiential statement to an audience in visual, not-so-experiential terms.

My primary observation on my walk was how disconnected I felt, how distracted I tended to become, and how much I wasn’t experiencing at all. I went through a number of potential methods of illustrating this, but found them all way to contrived or ambiguous. Eventually I decided to make an ink line drawing of what I actually could see, and I showed my distraction with the fading out of the illustration.

I hope that my only drawing the facades I actually interacted with gives the viewer the sense of distance I experienced. As this map is intended to appear objective, though it is particular to me, I decided a photocopy would eliminate much of the áhandmade effect and allow the map to seem more standardized.

Sketching it all turned out to be a laborious task, especially in the correct proportions on my map. I know I failed to master all the perspective, as I chose to draw things from an impossible omniscient angle, but I attempted to make the drawings so dense that it wasn’t too offensive. One of the most difficult parts for me was actually mounting the map on the black board.

On the whole, after investing quite a bit of time and energy, I am reasonably happy with the result. I like the way my drawings turned out and the somewhat official attitude conveyed by the dark lines of the copy. In its completed form, my only real disappointment (other than in my technical mat board cutting skills) is the composition. I think it works much better horizontally now than vertically, but alas, I discovered this a little too late to re-mat.


Full disclosure: I was at first driven partially mad by some of the professors’ grading systems which included the horrifying possibility of a “B+/A-”, but it probably made me work even harder to make sure that I was always solidly in “A” territory.


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