Six elements comprise what makes good map design

  1. Clarity
  2. Order
  3. Balance
  4. Contrast
  5. Unity
  6. Harmony

These elements often work together, but can sometimes conflict. The goal of a good map is to balance each of these elements, When conflict does occur, emphasize only those that are most important to the goal of the map.

Clarity - Clarity is the ability of the map to convey its message

Order - Order is the logic of the map; the path that the eye follows when viewing a map

Balance - refers to visual balance

Contrast - Contrast refers to the use of line weights, font characteristics, and colors

Unity - Unity is the interrelationship between backgrounds, shading, font characteristics, and colors on a map

Harmony - is the interrelationship between elements on a map. A good map has harmony between the elements.