Thursday, June 12, 2008

In front of a crowd in your underwear

Interesting thread on James Fee's blog. It's an argument over where to draw the "good enough" line when making a map under tight deadline and budget. The argument I'm fighting is that "cartography" (and in some posters' minds this seems to mean "making the data look pretty") is an optional item that can be left off if time gets tight.

This seems to me to be like arguing that getting dressed is an optional part of a public speaking gig, that the clothes you choose don't really matter. Showing up for a speech in a dirty t-shirt and cutoffs isn't a big deal if you run out of time.

Good design takes practice. I've been doing this for 17 years now, and I still have a lot to learn (hence, in part, this blog). Good presentations of any kind take practice—whether performance, graphic, verbal, oral, or sartorial. And if you are gearing up to present in front of an important audience sometime in your life, you don't want (on one hand) to look like a rube who can't dress him/her self, or on the other hand like someone who is trying too hard. If you want it to look normal and easy, and if you don't want it to take twice the time of an ugly data-dump, you have to practice.

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