Creative ways of mapping London

I’m reading ‘Mapping London: Making Sense of the City’ and there are some really great examples of how maps can be used as a way of visually playing within the city (whether it’s an imagined city while you play a board game or physically walking around the city with a map).

Round the Town: This was a map-based board game ‘which involved racing across London- catching glimpses of various landmarks en route – in order to be the first to reach the centre of town, Charing Cross’ and is made up of various paths in red and yellow which weave across the city. (

round the town

Black-Out: This was a 1940s board game created during WWII and involved players navigating their way around the city in the dark, with no hints from familiar London landmarks. (This map in particular relates to our idea of getting lost in London) (

black out

Greater Shakespeare: This was a map created to re-imagine London’s iconic tube map to display the personality types and their complex interaction in the plays of Shakespeare’, using the visual language of the London Underground map but applying it to a completely different context. We immediately recognise it as based on the tube map, but then read it to see it’s about something completely different. (

Screen shot 2014-11-28 at 10.40.07

 Designer Traffic Jam – Celebration of an Intersection: This poster, by Bruce Mclean, celebrates the ‘messiness’ of London by highlighting the constant problem the city has with traffic jams. Central to the poster is the image of Hammersmith Broadway gyratory system. (

Designer Traffic Jam - Celebration of an Intersection 1998 by Bruce McLean born 1944

Literary London: Four London Maps: These are four literary themed maps of London – with the artist Martin Rowson reworking and adapting the real geographical map of the city to suit his specific purpose. (

literary london

A Historic Guide to Shoreditch: How to Visit the Ruins: This is a map set in the future year 3000. The map depicts Shoreditch (an area in London popular with artists) as a historical site surrounded by new buildings and future technology. This is an example of a designer using the form of a map to satirise the present and comment on the future. (

adam dant

London Index Drawing: This is a map drawn by Layla Curtis, which is made up solely of labels of streets and landmarks. Some streets become jumbled with layers of other words, but other places remain recognisable as bridges, parks, busy main roads – and in particular the river Thames. With this map, Curtis has removed and played with the purpose of a map as a way of giving directions and placing you within a space. This is definitely something we can work with in our project. (

layla curtis


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