Personal Geographies/Atlanta


For the second time last quarter I asked students in my Message and Content class at the Portfolio Center, to use the tools of  design to tell personal and compelling stories about their experience in Atlanta. Each map reveals a different aspect of their experience of the place. The results were thoroughly different from the previous quarter.

Over the course of working on this assignment students refined the following skills: Narrative (telling a story visually), using design fundamentals to communicate your story (spatial hierarchy, type choice and visual hierarchy), information design, successful use of visual metaphor, color, and how to create a sense of place.

This time I am going to show you some of the resulting projects over a few consecutive posts. I have also gotten the students to describe the project in their own words. Enjoy!

Katy Mobley My Roaring Twenties

Katy Mobley My Roaring Twenties

 My twenties were filled with passion, love, and heartbreak; now that those years are behind me, I wanted to pay homage to them through the ‘Map my Atlanta’ project. I created a map featuring illustrations of places that were important to me during my “Roaring Twenties.” The illustrations are playful in nature, capturing the whimsical essence of my twenties. While the map is not geographically correct, it is a representation of the places where I made memories that will last a lifetime and the roads that led me to each place.

The map features places such as Canoe, my absolute favorite restaurant; however, every time I have been there with a boyfriend, we inevitably break up—hence “The Canoe Curse.” It also features the Georgian Terrace Hotel, the place where my mother gave me a gold key necklace that I wear each day.  The map shows the most heartbreaking place of all, Piedmont Hospital, which is where my mother passed away one month after my 29th birthday.

The map also features places where I created some of the happiest memories of my life such as Red Hot Yoga where I learned to become a yoga teacher, Chastain Park, the sanctuary for my dog Max and I, and Cafe Jonah, a charming cafe where I learned about love, peace, and a little bit of magic.

Alessandra Rabellino My Potential Soulmates

Alessandra Rabellino My Potential Soulmates

A personal map that illustrates my fanciful tendency to imagine futures for myself based on people I notice around the city of Atlanta. Each section of the map contains a little story detailing where I met or saw each person and a hand-painted symbol representing what stuck out about them to me.


Carter Tindall It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Carter Tindall It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Every Christmas, my parents would drive my brother and me to Atlanta. In a few short days we would whirl around the city, stopping to visit with various relatives, careful to spend equal amounts of time at each home.


Caroline Skarupa An Introvert’s Guide to Atlanta

Caroline Skarupa An Introvert’s Guide to Atlanta

In a city as busy as Atlanta, it’s important for an introvert like myself to have a place to escape to and recharge. The outer portion of this color coordinated map details the not-so-introvert-friendly areas of Atlanta, such as the airport and shopping malls. However, the user will find that when interacting with map—that there are also introvert-friendly areas, such as coffee shops and libraries, labeled underneath.

Look for more innovative maps in next week’s post.

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