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These minimalist city maps are like visual riddles

Take your best guess

Illustration of green boxes representing Savannah Peter Gorman

Every city has a defining feature that acts as a cultural shorthand for those in the know. In New York City, a metropolis built around a faulty but important mass transit system, the subway is top of mind. In Portland, it’s the Willamette River that snakes its way through the city and is crossable by nine separate bridges.

Illustration of portland’s bridges Peter Gorman

Peter Gorman is the designer behind Barely Maps, a series of illustrated maps that turn these design features into wonderfully opaque visual riddles.

Illustration of Boston Back Bay Peter Gorman

Every map has an illustration that subtly refers to a defining feature of the city. In Boston, for example, Gorman illustrates the brownstone laden neighborhood of Back Bay with lines of red bricks separated by a single line of green (the green represents the park that runs through the neighborhood). In Savannah, green cubes show how the old city is laid out around little community parks.

Illustration of Seattle’s Interbay neighborhood Peter Gorman

The maps are minimalist in concept if not in design. Deciphering Gorman’s colorful illustrations require intimate knowledge of a place, which makes knowing the answer extra satisfying. Not knowing is equally as fun though; guessing what an abstraction of a city represents almost feels like a game. Don’t know what the lines of color depicting Seattle’s Interbay neighborhood mean? It’s safe to assume that you’re probably not alone.

Illustration of Manhattan NY Peter Gorman

Via: Fast Company