Wish you were here?

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Mark Coster

Founder of Pixooma

I recently came across this sign at a local cemetery and was utterly confused as to why it was there. Take a look at the image below and you'll see what I mean…

We're telling you nothing. Nada. Zip!

Graphic design – whether it's a leaflet, website, or map – is about conveying information clearly and simply. This map looks well executed, but it tells you practically nothing. Essentially what it says is:

You are in a cemetery (which you could deduce for yourself by the gravestones in front of you)

and, well…that's it!

On a larger site, this would make more sense: there would probably be facilities that could be indicated with directions, but this cemetery's small enough that you can see all of it from the gate. It is a map for map's sake. It smacks of 'we need a sign' and then deciding to 'fill the space'.

It is a map for map's sake. It smacks of 'we need a sign' and then deciding to 'fill the space'.

Nice artwork, shame about the purpose (or lack of)

Let me be clear I'm not having a go at the designer, they've done a nice job, but here are my suggestions for how it could be improved:

Remove the map from the sign altogether - it serves no purpose and the sign could be smaller. Simply state what the cemetery is called, details about the local council and any rules that should be followed.

OR, improve the map, with one of the following…

Show where the bins are for rubbish/recycling

Where there is water for flowers etc

Where the benches are located for those who would like a rest or a moment of quiet reflection

Indicate (for those who are visiting for the first time) how the plots are arranged so they can find their loved ones more easily without examining every headstone

A waste of graphic design

This to me is the absolute opposite of Harry Beck's iconic London 'Tube' map: he took complex information and presented it in a way that was clear, logical and easy to follow. This is a map of nothing - it is simple, but because there is no information conveyed at all!

If I had been asked to produce it I would query what they were trying to achieve. I'm not interested in taking people's money when I feel they'll gain no benefit - it's one of Pixooma's key principles: "Putting you first". So if you have a project in mind and don't know if it will add benefit to your business get in touch I'd be happy to advise.

A useless map that tells you absolutely nothing!

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