Typographic Maps

I wanted to write this post to provide some context to a couple of very special maps I intend to share over the next few weeks. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and maps to me are always worth many more. Words often appear on maps to label particular features and provide important contextual information- they often provide the depth that can keep you staring at a map for hours. In some cases, however, the words themselves provide the features of interest making the points, lines and polygons that we expect on maps superfluous. Maps with only words, known as “Typographic Maps”, are becoming increasingly popular. I have included my 5 favourites below.
For sheer cartographic brilliance: axismaps’ San Francisco Typographic Map

For a more artistic take on the concept: Stephen Walter’s ‘The Island’.

For promoting world trade: Av Browne’s Trade Mission Typographic Maps

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Lots of typographic maps of the world exist. I think this one from typomaps.net is the best.

Last (but not least). This great map called “Wanderwort” shows the use of German words around the world.