Deaths in the Grand Canyon

February 2010
This is slightly modified version of a work I did for Backpacker Magazine’s May 2010 issue. I got to work with Antenna, their preferred typeface, which is a lovely sans-serif. I masked out the relief for areas outside of the Canyon — it seemed too distracting to leave it in, and the areas that remain seem that much more menacing, to me. Were I remaking this, I’d do a relief in Blender, instead, which would look much better.

The symbols convey the cause of death in two ways: the color, and the location of the notch. The latter is there as a backup method for those who have color vision impairments. That’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 5% of the American population, so we’re talking millions of people. I’ve never quite understood why so many designers ignore them, or how they get away with it.

This was one of the first freelance projects I made, at which point I started to think that if people continued to pay me to make maps, maybe I wouldn’t have to get a real job.