2 March 2010

Mourne Not

When the managers of the Mourne Scenic Heritage Trail wanted a new map of the area they put out a call for submissions. I jumped to it, it was an opportunity to make a pretty map and get paid. All the graphic designers who expressed an interest were sent a copy of the rather drab map they were using at the time. The new map was to cover the entire Mourne region but as part of our submission we only had to remap the area marked out by the black square.

The test area to redesign as part of a tender for the job.

I do not know if the winner was the best submission but it is probably better than mine. My proposal was perhaps avant garde in painting sites of historical interest in a narrow range of reds and browns. I like the look of all the fields but it would be a big job to make them true to the landscape.

My effort.

My design is illustrative without losing its utility as a navigational roadmap. This is in contrast to the winning design, which is very attractive but has to bear the note: “This map is for illustrative purposes only. To get the best from this route we recommend you use a good road map.”

The map that went into print. This is only a section.

But the winning design is a very appealing map and appeal is, presumably, what the commissioners were after. I’m sure copies of this map are pinned on walls and on the backs of doors all over the Mournes. Copies have probably made their way to far off parts of the world. I can imagine members of the Mourne diaspora getting misty-eyed over them. The map might not tell you exactly how to get to sites like Maghera Round Tower but it does make you want to go there and this might be the major part of the battle. It is at once a map and an advertisement poster calling you to walk the land.

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