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Lesson Navigation IconLayout Design Settings / Graphical Semiology

Unit Navigation IconMap Size and Scale

Unit Navigation IconDefinition and Organisation of Map Elements

Unit Navigation IconTypography

LO Navigation IconBasics of Font and Typography

LO Navigation IconLegality of Map Fonts

LO Navigation IconTheory of Lettering Maps

LO Navigation IconTypography and Readability on the Screen

LO Navigation IconComputer-Aided Lettering of Maps

LO Navigation IconPlacing Type on a Map

Unit Navigation IconColour Design

Unit Navigation IconReadability Rules

Unit Navigation IconMap Critics

Unit Navigation IconSummary

Unit Navigation IconRecommended Reading

Unit Navigation IconGlossary

Unit Navigation IconBibliography

Unit Navigation IconMetadata

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Meaning of Typography in Maps and Media


The term "typography" paraphrases activities such as the arrangement of words and the acceleration of legibility of them, and stands for a serial production of pre-thoughts. In a broader sense, it is the art of type setting that includes design, style, appearance, printing and the use of type. Type and space form an inseparable structure, whereas type delivers the content and the provided space allows it to have impact on us. Through organisation, you can build a logical structure and make it easy to read. Throughout history, people of any culture always had the urge to express themselves, starting with carved or painted symbols on rocks, which can still be found. Although we are far ahead of those times, written words are more important than ever before. Mobility, orientation and information-age are the keywords. With the introduction of computers, the creation of printouts are possible for everyone. Today the difference lies in the quality of the printed product and the professional organisation of the written letters. This applies to the lettering of maps, much like any media where letters function as a communication tool. Apart from the overall designing principles valid for printed media, and the presentation of media via web, there are special rules for letter and word positioning to bear in mind while generating maps. Making use of fonts on maps is the most important explanatory element. With its help, objects like churches, streets, etc. or thematic conditions can be:

  • Identified,
  • Evaluated or
  • Differentiated.

Font placement is area-related, then allows:

  • Expansions of landscapes
  • Elevations or
  • Political units may be expressed.

In this unit, you will learn the basics of typography valid for any sort of presentation. Furthermore, we will have a look at legibility rules for the monitor. A short excursion into the technical realisation will lead to the final objective that we would like to introduce to you: a profitable visual communication reached by using typography, and how the influence of your product-design may affect the user. Although the latter is not specifically the concern of cartography, it will mediate important items which will enable you to present your papers that might go along with maps on a currently flat, overbought market.

You will not necessarily need prerequisites for this unit, but a slight understanding of the basics of how a computer and software works, in terms of practical application, are helpful. In the clarifying section, introducing 'Computer-Aided Lettering of Maps', we will prepare you for the intermediate module section that deals with 'Handling of GIS Data Sets'. Parallel to this content, it seems reasonable to have a look at the basic module unit colour theory.

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