Lara Balaa

The design work kicks off!

June 2010. Mapping for Tourists design update 2

Following an initial research and brainstorm session that attempted to answer the question: “what is a conventional travel guide and how is it formatted?” the design team gave a presentation on June 26, sharing their vision, thoughts and visual experiments regarding the upcoming travel guide. Topics discussed included general mood and visual style, as well as basic layout grids.


Design team presenting mood boards and preliminary layout sketches - Photo by KhaJag Apelian. Lara Balaa

Visual inspiration

Visual inspiration consisted of photos collected from Amsterdam Noord, ranging from rough industrial buildings, social housing and construction sites, to production patterns, stencil typography, sign boards, graffiti, and more polished illustrations that one can find painted over the metal sheets that are meant to protect the empty houses which are waiting to be renovated.

Typography, color palette, icons and infographics

Different types of typefaces, icons and infographics have been collected from different sources, and visual styles have been discussed within the framework of this project. Which Arabic and Latin type combinations are suitable for this project? Are we looking into contemporary letter forms or more industrial forms that can blend with the typography available within the urban setting of Noord? Do we look into simple subtle graphic icons or loud construction site icons? Should our informational maps be delivered through illustration or graphic items?... etc.

Layout grids

Since the first outcome of this project is expected to be in tabloid format, different layout grids have been explored. And questions regarding margins and number of columns have been raised in an attempt to find the background grid that best suits the type of information that our travel guide will deliver.

With all of this in mind, the plan is to continue collecting visual inspiration and to continue brainstorming and experimenting until the right visual style is born. This will be progressing in parallel with other lines of work such as editorial work and artistic contributions. We are excited!