"You Are Here"

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Charting New Territories


At the end of my sophomore year in 2016, I took a leap out of my comfort zone and applied to join the yearbook staff. The staff was led by my digital art and creative photography teacher, Mrs. Helen Chwalisz, so she was well aware of what I was capable of and what I could offer to the team.

When I was admitted into the staff, I was inevitably selected to help create the graphical and artistic aspects of the book. There, the theme of next year's book was revealed and plans were made. The theme was You Are Here, a map centric book.

Over the summer, I attended Yearbook Palooza and bonded with my fellow staff members. During the 3 day workshop, I created a few quick renders concepts and we had long debates about the style and theme of the book.

This was first major graphic design project I ever had, so I essentially had no idea what I was doing. I just kept making different versions and made changes from the feedback I got. What follows below are the many ideas that had come to light.

Point of Reference

Map data was referenced from Google Maps

Cartography & Art

From Yearbook Palooza in July to early September, several concepts were created to test the many ideas that floated in my head. Each version helped distinguish what ideas were bad and what leads to follow next.

First Try

The initial design of the map contained only major highways, lakes, and park areas in the northern Orlando region.


The colors for the theme had not officially been decided so I tried using bolder colors.


Highways and major roads were given a drop shadow to emphasize and separate each type of road.

New Perspective

The map view angled to give it the appearance of someone peering over the map. Colors were reverted to compare between each color palette.

3D... Not Really

Drop shadows were rendered to simulate highways and major roads being in a 3D space.


Colors were switched again and a tilt-shift blur was applied to create a different perspective of depth.

Try Everything

This version combined several aspects of previous maps and applied a vignette.

Oil Canvas

At this point I decided to stick to the flat materialistic design and try create a map painted on a canvas.

Pen & Paper

Another random Idea was to make it look hand drawn.


We wanted to try to represent the school somehow on the map. I looked into adding a watermark of our mascot.


The overlay was combined with a sold fill and the map filled the transparent areas of the mascot.


The idea of using the hornet quickly faded as it was decided it was covering too much of the map.


Another idea I had was to reference our school's use of hexagons in the map. I manually went through each and every hexagon and filled them with the color most prominently represented in each tile.

Extra Credit

Making this map was not necessary but I wanted to see a version in which it was made of bubbles and drops. Again, each individual dot was painstakingly traced over. The size of the dot was varied every several hundred dots or so.


This version just went through a minor color adjustment to brighten the parks and lakes. Luckily I didn't have to redo all the blue and green dots.

The Results

In the months of experimentation, I learned a lot of new techniques and received lots of critical feedback to bring this final version to where it is today. The 15 previous maps were discarded and were never included in the final book. Since that time, a color palette was established, page dimensions were determined, and a new purpose was discovered.

This new map was used for the end sheets of the book and a plexiglass cutout gave a peek into the inside. Due to the new dimensions and orientation of the space, the map was redrawn from scratch. This time, every road, including the smallest of neighborhood roads, were added. After several long nights, the City of Orlando was recreated with great attention to detail.

Zoom In, Enhance

A second map of the school was commissioned to be used for the title page and division pages. Now that the Orlando map was out of the way, it was a relatively quick turnaround to map and create this map.

In Print