Gone are the days of Thomas Guides and the Rand McNally road atlas: in 2017, we navigate by the Bible of Waze.
But having a big city map as a piece of art on your wall?
That’s as much a statement about your taste as it is a handy reference tool.
So today, we’re rounding up six artisans who make beautiful and distinctive cartograms of the city we all call home.
The Functional Map
Bryan McWilliams is a graphic designer and illustrator, and his woodsy, old-school map of the bicycling trails at Griffith Park will come in handy should you want to make the ride.
The Vintage-Style Map
Zazzle isn’t a large-scale map curator, but this 1909 map of Los Angeles is a popular one around town (your correspondent owns one). It’s not even close to scale at the peripheries (Eagle Rock and Elysian Fields look a little out of place), but the downtown portion is pretty accurate, and some of the buildings are still standing today.
The Architectural Map
The black and white austerity of this vintage map from 1949 would look great in an office or a kitchen that gets a surplus of natural light.
The Design-Forward Map
This transit-oriented map of L.A.’s metro lines is clean and simple, with bold colors set against a 540gsm Fujifilm poster board.
The Playful Map
Ork’s neighborhood maps outline L.A.’s ‘hoods with a sans serif font that feels a bit like a game of jumble.
The Historical Map
Historical Map Works is a Portland, Maine-based concern that bought tons of old atlases, maps and almanacs and then digitized them using present-day street layouts so you can see how things have changed over the years. You can also order very large sizes from them. These guys are the best in the business, and if you head to their L.A. page, you’ll see everything from maps of old oil fields to lesser-known neighborhoods like Brooklyn Heights to this 1937 Hollywood Star Map.
Nota bene: If you need a frame, one of our artist friends recently told us about The Framing House in Chinatown, who do high-quality work at a fair value.