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Mississippi River TypeMap

This is the latest map in my "Typography of Place" series... a map of the cities and towns that lie along the Mississippi River. The last two maps I did in this series (Silk Road and the Aleutian Islands) were very horizontal. So I wanted to try one with a vertical format.

 

One of the things I am trying to achieve in these maps is to have the words that make up the map read as a sort of free-form poem. In this one, I think that comes across particularly strong since you can "read" it from the river's source in the top left to the mouth in the bottom right.

 

I have not color coded the place names on this map as I did in the Aleutian Islands Map but the same theme is present with many towns having Native American names (in addition to the river itself). French names are also quite present as you travel down the river. Then there is the intriguing sequence of Egyptian-inspired names that includes Memphis, Thebes, Angola, and Cairo.

 

This is still a sketch but I assembled the base map by drawing the river and placing the cities on the appropriate side of the river to try and stay geographically accurate. But I knew as I was building it that I was going to center the towns on the middle of the river to emphasize the meandering path the river takes as it starts in northern Minnesota and works its way all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

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Taken on June 2, 2008