Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tuesday Tools: TypeBrewer

In a past blog post, we explored the use of the ColorBrewer tool, and how color selection affects the overall look and feel of a map made in ArcMap.  Selecting appropriate typographic features, such as font size and style, is also very important when practicing good cartography. The map design tool called TypeBrewer allows a user to explore different typographic options in a map environment.  Using this tool, you can select different type styles so you can observe the visual impact of font size, style, density, and tracking on the overall appearance of your map. This simple tool uses principles of cartography and  is a quick way to apply different typographic alternatives and see which fits best for your map.

TypeBrewer is a flash-based interface tool that can be found here. Version 8 or higher of Adobe Flash Player is required to interface with TypeBrewer. Font schemes that are arranged online can be exported as a template in Adobe Illustrator or a specification sheet that lists all the data onscreen can be printed. Then, your selected font scheme can be applied to your map in ArcGIS. The TypeBrewer tool is best utilized in the beginning phases of your project so you can set design specifications before creating your map.

One of the limitations of TypeBrewer is that you can not manually add or substitute your own fonts into the schemes. However, you can select between different classic, formal, informal, and contemporary style labeling groups that are provided. You can select these styles based on on how elegant, professional, historical, or modern you want your map to look.