blog/Musings

Golden Ratio & Cartography; a talk at NACIS 2022

| 11.15.22

Last month I was lucky enough to give a talk at the North American Cartographic Information Society’s annual meeting in Minneapolis, about the golden ratio & how we apply it to our cartographic & data visualization practice at Stamen. The video recording of the talk is here, for those who prefer to watch and listen...

Shadows on maps are getting a lot more exciting, and here’s why

| 09.16.22

As cartographers, we want to make beautiful maps that grab our readers’ attention. Sometimes we wish our maps could jump out of the screen or off the page, and with a recent trend in cartography we’re starting to see more and more maps that seem to do just that.  New technology combined with high-resolution elevation...

Cartographers Play Video Games: A Review of the Map in Elden Ring

Elden Ring has been the buzz of the gaming world since its release in late February. As the latest title by From Software, it’s the studio’s first foray into an open-world role-playing concept for their extremely popular and infamously difficult games (typically referred to as Souls or Soulsborne games from two notable games in their catalog, Dark Souls and Bloodborne). It’s also the first of these games to include a map, which really excites us at a cartographer studio with some avid gamers.

Figmasset: reducing design friction while making map markers

| 09.20.21

When we’re rapidly iterating on creative map designs at Stamen, one source of friction is testing new map icons in a live map. Designers often have to resort to mock-ups of marker designs on a static map, which makes it hard to see how the icons really perform. Or we go through manual steps each...

The Election Ring Map sneaks into Ken Field’s new “Thematic Mapping” textbook

| 08.26.21

Last November, as part of Stamen’s 2020 roundup of presidential election maps (“We design maps for a living. Here’s who got the 2020 election right“) published in Fast Company, I sketched out the idea for a new kind of election map which I hadn’t seen implemented before. The map shows a colored ring for each...

Five days at the University of New Mexico teaching design & fermentation

| 07.08.21

I was lucky enough to be invited to help teach my pal Janet Abrams’ new design program, Architecture + Design Summer Academy at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque last week. I flew(!) in on Sunday, spent a week with Janet and the amazing UNM professor Francisco Uviña helping to shepherd high school students...

Diversity in Design Collaborative Launches to Take Meaningful Action to Increase Diversity in the…

| 06.15.21

Members Join Forces Around Commitment to Improving Representation of Black Creatives in Design, Increasing Design Career Opportunities and Focusing on the Education Pipeline to Create Long Term and Lasting Change Founding members include 2×4, Adobe, Architecture Plus Information, Aruliden, Civilization, COLLINS, Dropbox, Fossil Group, Freeman, fuseproject, Gap Inc., Herman Miller Group, Knoll Inc., Levi Strauss...

New Smithsonian Acquisition: Watercolor Maptiles by Stamen Design

| 05.25.21

[Last week, the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum announced that Stamen’s Watercolor map tiles would be added to their permanent collection. As part of that announcement, they released a 5 minute video showing Stamen Design founder Eric Rodenbeck talking about the origins and reception of the Watercolor map. This is post is a brief transcript...

Letter to a young data visualizer

| 03.12.21

(with apologies & in homage to Rainer Maria Rilke and William Burroughs) From time to time I get asked for advice by young people about paths to careers in dataviz. My path to the field started over twenty years ago. There was no Masters of Data Visualization at the New School when I went there,...

Some thoughts about dataviz in the age of COVID-19

| 06.24.20

Dataviz is clearly having a moment in the COVID-19 and social justice crisis — perhaps a definitive moment. Every time I turn around I see another chart, set of small multiples, dashboard. Some of them are great, some of them are just so-so, and some of them are actively dangerous, just like any other form of expression...