A good guide book
I love a good guide book, those elegantly composed marvels of condensed knowledge and purposeful suggestion assure you squeeze every last drop of holiday refreshment from your annual retreat. To me, thumbing their pages is a world away from the chore of the internet trawl. Reading a good one can be an almost meditative experience – it takes you there, it feeds anticipation and ideas emerge as if summoned from beyond those pages.
How do they do that?
SplashMaps received the latest editions of Insight Guides. Naturally I am drawn to the maps (helpful post-it notes had been placed there by their key account manager), but I am soon adsorbed by the stories behind the National Parks in the USA – places I’ve never seen. A large image of a petroglyph gets me learning about a branch of pre-Columbian history I’d never heard of before.
The author sells us the concept
Maps are just a part of the content in these guides. But, weather you’re looking for the perfect trail or the perfect beach, they are the connective tissue between our yearning for discovery and the things we already understand. The photographer effectively grabs our attention, our curiosity piqued by an unusual angle and a rare view. From here the skill of the author sells us the concept of the area, taking us deeper into layers of detail and exploiting our senses with lavish prose.
Now I’m in – I’m learning about Mogollon traders and I’d never heard of them before.
Emotions and Logic coming together
The skill of linking these things with much of the logic that leads to the thought “Yes, I can see myself there!”, is often in the domain of Cartographer. This person does the magic of turning data that defines the land, its peaks, its bays and its valleys into an image that we can easily interpret. A map. Done well it’ll open-up the rest of your brain, emotions and logic coming together over the cartographer’s artistry to make good on the authors proposition.
Take readers beyond the page
Maps can really take readers beyond the page, and in my view that takes them beyond paper. The perceived value of the work that has gone into making intuitive maps like these seems always to be lower than reasonable. Could it be something to do with what they’re printed on?
Profit lies in moving the map beyond the page
Cartographers have unique skills and perform a crucial role in linking the conceptual world with the real world. Their work is slow and careful and so expensive. It’s an asset, and publishers even call it a “Right” as if to underline a moral purpose that can only be found in its content. Good publishers now realise that profit lies in moving the map beyond the page. Looking beyond paper, the art and logic combine to give a wearer identity, a roamer direction and, perhaps, a lost person hope.
Meet me at the Rights Fair in New York, 30th May to 1st June where I’ll be helping publishers profit from the off-the-page potential in the USA.