What's in a name?

Amsterdam by Mark Andrew Webber. Also available: Berlin, Paris, London, New York

Maps provide a modeled representation of the earth’s surface: a geographical representation of the countryside or the planned city. On the basis of different kinds of lines, shapes and colors, you get an overview of the most important roads, buildings and facilities. Convenient for those on the road. However, there are also so-called typographic maps, these are maps with mainly words. Words that can be places within the physical structures to represent a social theme or an activity: the lived city. See for example Orkposters of cities in the United States and Bold and Noble for places and countries around the world.

Typographical maps work on the basis of letters in different colors, type face and type size. All in all, this provides a different kind of schematic representation of reality. A special typographic map is the 'Surname map'. As far as I know, there are now two kinds of these in circulation. One in London and one in the United States. The latter shows the top 25 of surnames in every state, the number of times those surname occurs and the country of origin. In this way, it give an interesting insight into (among other things) the ethnic spread. The map in London works through the same principle, but it is also interactive. It is possible to indicate whether you want to see the top 1, 2, 3 etc by district.

Anyway, a picture says more than a 1,000 words, so definitely go take a look yourself…

London Surnames

United States Surnames

More than words, but also a very interesting way of mapping:
Stephen Walter's Hub Map of London
David Ryan Robinson's Hand-Drawn Map of London


  1. Hi fellas,
    Thank you so much for this wonderful article really!
    If someone want to read more about that city planning I think this is the right place for you!


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