An effective, legible campus map is crucial for any college or university. Students come seeking education and career direction, but before that can happen they need to get acclimated to their new surroundings. So admissions hands them a campus map to provide directions to each and every building and landmark. However, all campus maps are not created equal.
Brevard College, located in the mountains of North Carolina, was using a campus map that lacked appeal. It communicated on a basic level and didn't encompass their campus in a way that excited the new student. Corner Tab Creative was hired to fix all of that.
When designing a campus map a lot of preliminary effort is done up front before the map can be generated. We first determine the desired look for the map, considering a number of samples and options. Then we consider the overall branding that's been established by the college. The chosen direction has to work cohesively and fit. We discuss how the map will be used and distributed alongside other marketing/informing materials. How will it be displayed on the website? What type of collateral packets will it be included in? Will it be displayed as poster directories around the campus? These are the types of questions we ask before any designing is done.
Once a clear direction is set, it's time to take photos of each building and landmark from multiple angles. These photos are required to get the lay of the land, record the architecture and landscape for accuracy, and study the characteristics of the campus. It's specific reference material for the later design and creation stages of the project.
Our design approach consists of an isometric vector format, a cool earth tone color scheme (school colors), specific fonts, and a focus on the details that represent Brevard College. When designing and creating each building and landmark, we try to find one or two defining characteristics that people will recognize as they traverse about the area. It may be a roof type, a foundational shape, a curve or particular layout of a building, or anything that helps to accurately define the subject matter. Also, attention is paid to achieving realistic relationships between parking lots, roads and structures. Our approach is not meant to be pinpoint perfect, but easily recognizable for the viewer.
Lastly, the campus map is brought all together with a color coded, numbered and lettered index. All the groundwork has lead up to this point as this element of the map provides the heart of its informative purpose. If we design the map too complex, the addition of the index can quickly get messy. We're mindful from the beginning to keep things simple, since too much detail can become a burden on certain map projects. The final product is always meant to be a clear and concise representation of the campus, ready to be handed out to students and used in desired media.
Corner Tab Creative enjoys the challenge of doing map projects for our clients. You can also see our campus map for Chowan University out of Murfreesboro, North Carolina. Got a map project of your own? Let discuss!