Maps. Fonts. Anxiety. Plagiarism.

Mr. Vignelli’s Map
I love maps. I think they are one of the most intriguing ways for information to be displayed. Maps have been used to show such a variation of facts that range from topics such as population demographics to climate. I think maps have the ability to be beautiful. However, I am also directionally challenged and never learned my left from my right. It’s a serious issue and my GPS saves me over and over again. I can typically understand route maps. I grew up knowing the DC metro map off the top of my head. It’s much less complex than the NY subway, but faces many of the same complications. I particularly enjoyed this statement: “Imagine your surprise when you found yourself hiking for hours on a route that looked like it would take minutes on Vignelli’s map.” Something I’ve never understood about the DC metro is that sometimes, on the map two stations will look really close together, but take longer to get to than two stations that are further apart. It sounds as though the Vignelli map also had these complications and could explain why it was replaced.

 I Hate ITC Garamond
This essay has the most disgusting sentence that involves dog poop being edible. I can’t. I’m also thoroughly convinced this author needs to relax; he admits that he hates it for no reason. However, I would like to hear his rants about other fonts, or see him go through and just shout HATE IT or LOVE IT as he scrolls down. There are fonts that I don’t particularly like, but since I don’t like them, I just avoid using them.

Information Design and the Placebo Effect
So my first thought was- the thing that causes your trust in our government to be shaken are the cross walk buttons? What? However, later, “These buttons may function simply as therapy for the overanxious” and  “Are they trying to reduce anxiety or increase it?” both resonated with me. I was very paranoid when I was little. When I was seven, seniors from my HS, which I lived two minutes from, were doing their senior prank and disposed of the axe they used to break into the school by throwing it through my families dining room window. We had an alarm system. It went off. Cops came. I slept through the entire thing; none of the alarms or sirens woke me up. So after that I became super paranoid and anxious because I thought something bad was going to happen and I wouldn’t wake up. In thinking about the “this house is secured with blah blah security” signs, they have always eased my mind, even though they’re just pieces of plastic stuck into a garden. The design of them is supposed fend off intruders, so while I’ve never thought of them as works of design, I understand their purpose. Also, since I’m from right outside of DC, all those terrorism alert levels actually meant something to my school system and my parents jobs (especially post 9/11 and the Beltway Sniper Attacks). The colors definitely always caused me more anxiety than reduced it.

I Am A Plagiarist
My mind, similar to the authors, is full of graphic design and photography that was done by other people. I take inspiration from so much around me. I don’t recall ever looking at something and thinking that I’m going to duplicate it exactly, but there are always aspects to what I’ve designed or photographed that I don’t think I made up on my own. I’m not sure if that makes me a plagiarist, because I think it’s pretty likely that the works I have seen have inspiration from someone else’s work too.

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