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Thread: Keys & Legends

  1. #1
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    Help Keys & Legends

    I've reached a point in my current map project where I need to start thinking about an effective yet characterful key for what I'm working on. The map is continent-sized and at the top of my head covers around 5,000 x 10,000 miles and features settlements (capitals, major cities and other relevant settled areas, including small towns that are of certain importance to the region/world), forts (including redoubts, walls and trenches of varying sizes), ruins, 'magical' locations (2 different kinds - light and dark, to cut a long story short), mnt. markers (mountain high points, volcanoes etc.), routes (generally various trade routes and pilgrimages) and possibly others.

    I was wondering if, with your maps you usually stick to the same legend symbols or if you change them for project-to-project and though I suspect the latter is the most popular choice, if you keep the same type of symbol (eg. a star for a capital) do you just change the style from map-to-map?

    Until now I was simply using circles of varying sizes for settlements (3-different sizes) and squares of varying sizes for forts (2) though due to the scale of the map I though having more visually diverse legends would help. colour and shape are the obvious choices, though I was wondering if there are any other tricks to use?
    • I'm leaning towards circles and squares for unfortified and fortified settlements, respectively; 3-different sizes, red
    • stylised star forts; 2different sizes, red (or maybe another colour to more-easily distinguish them from others?)
    • the white and black portion of a ying/yang for white/black magic areas, respectively (or possibly, and more characterful of the world, I'm thinking of coming up with alchemical-like symbols for the white/black magic regions and using those); possibly 2-different sizes
    • triangle for volcanoes, mountains etc. 1 size? red?
    • three dots for a ruin? black
    • something else and distinct for other regions of note. colour?


    too many? or few? are they characteristic of an alternate 18th/19th century world?

    EDIT: sorry for the proliferation of question marks and slashes, by the way
    Last edited by vorropohaiah; 06-09-2012 at 11:25 AM.

  2. #2
      Larb is offline
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    What I usually do is try to make some nice symbols and then get really frustrated and just up using a white circle with a stroke and a slight bevel.

    I tried to make some icons this one time but they just didn't turn out right. One was a tower that ended up looking more like a broken tooth.

    Alchemical symbols sound interesting. Things that give maps more character and identity are always worth trying.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larb View Post
    What I usually do is try to make some nice symbols and then get really frustrated and just up using a white circle with a stroke and a slight bevel.
    I tried to make some icons this one time but they just didn't turn out right. One was a tower that ended up looking more like a broken tooth.
    Yeah I know what you mean; that's my default for now too - red circles/squares with a bevel and emboss and stroke layer style. effective, but hardly characterful.

    Alchemical symbols sound interesting. Things that give maps more character and identity are always worth trying.
    yeah, that's what I was hoping for. not necessarily copy/paste alchemical symbols, though certainly something along those lines that can also be used in-world.

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