Stroly BLOG

Stroly and workshop atendees walking down a street

Creating a Map using one Kanji character? – A Map workshop for beginners


5 years ago

Have you ever made a map all by yourself?

When making it from scratch, do you find it hard to decide what to include or what to leave out?

How much is “enough” information?

What is the best design for it?

All these decisions can even make you question WHY you’re even doing this to begin with, LOL.

To help beginner Stroly Map creators as much as possible, we decided to run an experiment with Kyoto Seika University Students and members of Kamigyo Chuzu-bu, a group of Map aficionados that organize workshops and walking tours around Kyoto.

Outside view from venue

View from outside venue

First, we divided the participants into 3 teams. Each team drew a card with a Kanji word written as the “theme/concept” for developing a map. Team A drew ”楽 (fun, easy)”, Team B “音 (sound)” and Team C “超 (super, exceed)”.

The teams sat down at their tables and wrote down their notes in relation to their kanji.

The teams write down their notes in relation to their kanji.

Next, the participants discussed their assigned Kanji characters for its meaning, impressions or stories related to it. Once they grasped and shared the symbolism for that particular Kanji, they went outside and explored the neighborhood looking for items to include in their map that would fit that theme.

Brainstorming and idea association using cards

Brainstorming and idea association

During a 2 hour walk with these themes in hand, the participants seemed to notice new things even when walking in areas they are very familiar with. Because this walk had a different but very specific purpose, things look completely different than usual.

When they returned to our meeting place, all team members drew or wrote down places in their maps and shared them with the rest. This way, the map information got organized, simplified, and the volume and type of content were decided more easily.

Bringing the ideas back to the table.

Bringing the ideas back to the table.

Time went by so quickly during this workshop! In our next events, we are looking to come up with more ideas for map designers of every level.

Stay tuned for our next update!