53 stories

Project: Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean Trade Route Maps

1 Comment

Earlier this year, I was commissioned to create a series of trade route maps for Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean, a leading global provider of deep-sea ocean transportation for cars, trucks, rolling equipment and breakbulk cargo. The client had already developed some rough “subway map” visualizations for their network, noting that their current geographical maps of longer routes compressed many ports into very small areas while leaving vast swathes of empty ocean taking up the majority of space. Their theory was that a subway map visualization could expand the denser areas (especially Europe and Japan/Korea), while vastly reducing the amount of wasted empty space – a problem not too dissimilar to that faced by H.C. Beck when he first drew up his famous Tube Map in 1931.

It was my task to take this rough mockup and develop a design language that could be scaled from a single short trade route all the way up to a global network map, all while remaining simple and legible enough to work within the confines of a PowerPoint slide. Adding to the challenge was the fact the company completely rebranded themselves about a month into the project, which meant that I suddenly had to work with an entirely different colour palette. The list of ports that each route called at also changed a few times, and there were a lot of back and forth revisions to make all the stakeholders happy.

The map above shows all the possible trade routes from Europe to the Americas, and was the map that I used to develop the look and feel of the entire series, setting up all the design rules for every map. As a result, it went through the most iterations – this final map is the 12th version – but it was definitely worth the effort. Earlier versions also included numbers between the ports that indicated the average number of days it took to sail between them, but this was deemed unworkable after a couple of rounds of revisions.

Likewise, transshipment routes – incoming routes to the major “hub” ports, often via third parties – were originally shown in detail as secondary “feeder lines”, but this gradually morphed into the simpler approach of the final map. As you may have noticed, this approach owes a lot to London Underground line maps, which denote interchanges with other lines in a similar way. Like most transit strip maps, the reading logic flows from left to right, regardless of actual geography (America is west of Europe, after all). Directional arrows reinforce this for users less familiar with the concept. This reading logic holds true for all 13 of the final trade-level routes, with a few necessary exceptions. In these instances, further directional arrows guide the user (see the below Europe–Oceania trade map, where the two routes travel through the Australian ports in opposite directions).

After the trade level maps, I developed four “continent” maps, which focused on showing simplified “collapsed” versions of the trade routes within Europe, the Americas, Asia and Oceania. Examples showing Europe and Asia are below.

Finally, I pieced together a global trade map from the four continent maps. Fortunately, I did this after everything else had been approved, so I only had to rework this one once!

Feedback from the client has been overwhelmingly positive, both within the company and from their external clients who have seen and used the maps. From my point of view, I feel extremely blessed that I got to work with a client who had a great idea of what he wanted, but also was very receptive to my thoughts and concepts. He has this to say about my work:

“From the initial idea until delivery, Cameron showed a great sense for what is really required to get the visualization of our products done in the best possible way. While deep-diving into our products, he always maintained an overview of the big picture and what is required to make the final delivery as great as it is today.”

You can view all the maps on WWO’s website, and they’ve even made an explanatory video for the maps, which is kind of awesome!

Read the whole story
83 days ago
Beautiful route visualizations by a pro.
Share this story

Schlock Mercenary: August 29, 2018

1 Comment

Read the whole story
142 days ago
Just delightful dialogue
Share this story

To E.D. in July

1 Comment

“To E.D. in July”
by Abbie Huston Evans
(copied from Evans’ Collected Poems p. 93)

Emily, lie you below
And I above, this morning,
While this same earth you used to know
Stabs deep and gives no warning?
It passes me how it can be
That I instead am seeing
Light loved by you implicitly
While you resign your being.

Tell me truth, did you find heaven
And your old neighbor, God?
Or is it nothingness, not even
A sleep, beneath the sod?
Did your relentless wish create
What is from what could be;
Or found you one grim predicate
Wherewith nouns must agree?

Listen: the tide is out again;
The rock-weed lies out hissing.
I could weep in the world of men
To think what you are missing.
To your low ear I bring in news
Gathered this same day, giving
A pocketful from which to choose
Fresh from the land of the living.

The sun finds garnets on this ledge
The tide’s bare hand is slapping;
And where the grass fails at the edge
A poplar bush stands clapping.
Woodpecker drums his hollow log,
Pond-lillies open slow,
Shell-pink upon the cranberry bog
Has just begun to show.

This morning early, Emily,
I saw a crane go wading
About the glassed cove to the knee,
The ripples round him braiding;
The cove out of the mist pulled free
As radiant as a bridge,
But smokiness blew in from sea
With the turning of the tide.

Know kittens still lap creamy milk,
Know mice still gnaw the rind,
And like great lengths of waving silk
Hay-fields blow out behind;
Barn-swallows scissor down and up
With tea-stained vests (you know!),
And hawkweed crowds on buttercup,
And elderberries blow.

—Here, take them, Emily, they hurt
In telling; can you bear
To hear of elderberries, skirt
The coasts of sun and air?
Know all that hurt you once hurts still.
Need any tell you now
Night brings the moon, dawn finds the hill?
Want you such hurting now?

Read the whole story
172 days ago
Share this story

Hot dog


Sarah Connors reports:

To the ladies in an SUV who just stopped on Summer St. in Somerville to help out a person carrying this large dog in 90 degree heat because she decided to just give up walking halfway home? You're my and Maggie's hero, thank you x1000 for the ride.

Read the whole story
203 days ago
Share this story

The dream of the Tsar's clock

1 Comment

Last night I had a dream in which I was telling the following hilarious joke:

Once upon a time in Russia, the Tsar owned a magnificent handmade clock. It covered almost an entire wall, and was marvelously ornamented, with two accompanying decorations, resembling religious icons, to be hung on the wall flanking it.

There was a merchant who coveted the clock, and one day, unable to resist any longer, he hired some thieves to break into the Tsar's palace and steal the clock, which he then hung in his own home.

The very next day, who should happen by but the Tsar himself, with his retinue and bodyguards. Of course it would have been unforgivably rude to turn away that Tsar, so the merchant reluctantly invited him in.

The Tsar gazed at the clock on the wall. “That is a magnificent clock,” he said at last. Not knowing what else to say, the merchant agreed.

“I have one just like it,” said the Tsar.

That was the punch line.

Dreams. (Shrug.)

Read the whole story
210 days ago
I thought it was a good joke.
Share this story

One space between each sentence, they said.  Science just proved them wrong.

4 Comments and 6 Shares
The typography in this article is [puts on sunglasses] on point.

In the beginning, the rules of the space bar were simple.  Two spaces after each period.  Every time.  Easy.

But then, at the end of the 20th century, the typewriter gave way to the word processor, and the computer, and modern variable-width fonts.  And the world divided.

Some insisted on keeping the two-space rule.  They couldn't get used to seeing just one space after a period.  It simply looked wrong.

Some said this was blasphemy. The designers of modern fonts had built the perfect amount of spacing, they said.

And when you really get right down to it, aren't we being pretty closed-minded to accept the false dichotomy of "one space" versus "two space", when here in this bright future we have such a glorious manifold panoply of spacing possibilities?

  • SPACE -- '󠀠 ' -- sometimes considered a control code
  • NO-BREAK SPACE -- '󠀠 ' -- commonly abbreviated as NBSP
  • OGHAM SPACE MARK -- ' ' -- glyph is blank in "stemless" style fonts
  • EN QUAD -- ' '
  • EM QUAD -- ' ' -- mutton quad
  • EN SPACE -- ' ' -- nut; half an em
  • EM SPACE -- ' ' -- mutton; nominally, a space equal to the type size in points;may scale by the condensation factor of a font
  • THREE-PER-EM SPACE -- ' ' -- thick space
  • FOUR-PER-EM SPACE -- ' ' -- mid space
  • SIX-PER-EM SPACE -- ' ' -- in computer typography sometimes equated to thin space
  • FIGURE SPACE -- ' ' -- space equal to tabular width of a font; this is equivalent to the digit width of fonts with fixed-width digits
  • PUNCTUATION SPACE -- ' ' -- space equal to narrow punctuation of a font
  • THIN SPACE -- ' ' -- a fifth of an em (or sometimes a sixth)
  • HAIR SPACE -- ' ' -- thinner than a thin space; in traditional typography, the thinnest space available
  • ZERO WIDTH SPACE -- '' -- commonly abbreviated ZWSP; this character is intended for invisible word separation and for line break control; it has no width, but its presence between two characters does not prevent increased letter spacing in justification
  • NARROW NO-BREAK SPACE -- ' ' -- commonly abbreviated NNBSP; a narrow form of a no-break space, typically the width of a thin space or a mid space
  • MEDIUM MATHEMATICAL SPACE -- ' ' -- abbreviated MMSP; four-eighteenths of an em
  • BLANK SYMBOL -- '␢' -- graphic for space
  • OPEN BOX -- '␣' -- graphic for space
  • IDEOGRAPHIC HALF FILL SPACE -- '〿' -- visual indicator of a screen space for half of an ideograph
  • ZERO WIDTH NO-BREAK SPACE -- '' -- BOM, ZWNBSP; may be used to detect byte order by contrast with the noncharacter code point U+FFFE; use as an indication of non-breaking is deprecated; see WORD JOINER instead
  • TAG SPACE -- '󠀠'

Oh My Genitals.

I always type two spaces, though HTML hides that. It's what they taught me when I was pressing my Cuneiform reeds into the clay, and the habit was reinforced by the justification idiosyncrasy that M-j fill-paragraph-or-region does not break lines at a single space following a period so that mid-sentence abbreviations are never wrapped from the following word. Which is another thing that HTML hides.

But then, for decades I used to type double-quotes ``like this'' in English text because ASCII doesn't contain ““” and “””. I eventually gave up on that, but by that time I had developed such an abiding hatred of "smart" quotes that now I just use straight-up-and-down ASCII double quotes for everything.

Also, punctuation goes inside the quotation marks only if the punctuation is part of the thing being quoted, because that's proper scoping, and I'll die on that hill.


Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Read the whole story
255 days ago
The study cited used Courier, meaning they didn’t in fact prove anything meaningful.
Share this story
3 public comments
254 days ago
It’s like they were trolling for attention by carefully avoiding testing the actual claim that proportional fonts make the double space unnecessary, not to mention using one of the lowest-quality fixed width fonts in widespread usage.
Washington, DC
257 days ago
257 days ago
" punctuation goes inside the quotation marks only if the punctuation is part of the thing being quoted, because that's proper scoping, and I'll die on that hill."

New York, NY
Next Page of Stories