Check out this sampling of beautiful vintage information design over at the always-excellent BibliOdyssey:
The David Rumsey Map Collection has now been online for ten years. [This] selection of carto-curios is from the latest batch of material uploaded to the site.
Rumsey is an internet hero of the first order. Following the success of his business he was able to afford to indulge his latent interest for all things cartographic and he assembled a massive collection of more than 150,000 items.
That might have been the end of the story: rich dude spends money on secret passion in obscurity. But Rumsey wanted to share his collection with the world and mere donation of his maps and atlases to a document repository didn’t seem like it would fully satisfy his magnanimous urges. From a five year old interview on SFGate: “I realized that whichever institution I gave it to would lock it away, put it on a shelf,” he says, with mild indignation. “But just then the technology came along that would enable me to put it all up online, and it was obvious that this was the best way I could give it away to the public.”
Nice rundown of interesting historical maps on a site that seems to have popped up out of nowhere then been abandoned.
Works of art in and of themselves, these ancient maps reveal a great deal more than the geographical knowledge of our ancestors. They tell stories of war and triumph, reveal myths and biases, and document modes of thought that have long been obsolete.
Kevin Kelly: “Raven maps are artwork. They are the most detailed US state maps you can find on one sheet. Printed in exquisite detail on heavy paper, they radiate clarity. Their colored shaded relief highlights the topology of their place with intelligence and precision. Unlike most maps, Raven maps deliver two perspectives at once — an expansive overview and tiny close-up details — a very rare combination you won’t find in an atlas or road maps.”
“A Wayfinding system incorporates branding, signs, maps and directional devices that tell us where we are, where we want to go, and how to get there. An effective wayfinding system can add an important dimension to the image of a museum, a transit system, an airport, an office building, or an entire city. It can be designed as a savvy helper that gives information and direction to people in a clear, appropriate, user friendly way, to assist them in finding their way into, through, and out of an environment.” (Thanks Chris Glass!)
“It was gorgeous. It was abstract. It was criticized. It was confusing. And it\'s back.
With its 45- and 90-degree angles and one color per subway line, the 1972 subway map by Massimo Vignelli was divorced from the cityscape, devoid of street or neighborhood names. It was criticized because its water was not blue and its parks were not green. Paul Goldberger called it â€œa stunningly handsome abstractionâ€ that â€œbears little relation to the city itself.â€
Now Men\'s Vogue has asked Mr. Vignelli to update his subway map for the May design issue.” (Thanks Information Design Watch!)
“Maps are everywhere these days. The ubiquity of global positioning systems (GPS) and mobile directional devices, interactive mapping tools and social networks is feeding a mapping boom. Amateur geographers are assigning coordinates to everything they can get their hands onâ€”and many things they can\'t.”
“I spent some time Saturday afternoon in Chelsea looking at a couple shows that I\'ve been meaning to see for a while. I was pleasantly impressed with the painted maps by Paula Scher and somewhat underwhelmed by the theatrics that surrounded the collection of work from Banksy.”
“Need to know the capital of Vanuatu? Interested to find out the major export of Madagascar? Itching to find out about the (homo)sexual tension on Columbus’ trips to The New World? Then we have just the book for you!
Atlas, Schmatlas is a 128 page hardback book chock-a-block with essential information (fact and fiction), maps, and illustrations about every country in the world.” (Thanks Chris Glass!)
“This article introduces the mental process, analysis and evaluation applied by designers during their work on the Warsaw subway signage system project. Users\' points of view were predominant in the design procedure. Establishing the groups of potential information receivers and their needs allowed designers to define the scope of the system and areas it was to cover. Envisioning the street-train-street â€˜path\' of users allowed designers to build the conceptual model that defined the design problems and solutions.” (Thanks Doug Wilson!)
A funny page that shows you the world’s largest lake, largest island, and the largest island in a lake on an island in a lake on an island — and everything in between.