Dan Elliott Turns Old Maps Into Art

The design professor and artist adds unique type and pithy quotes to maps—making them worthy of your walls.

Photo: Courtesy of Dan Elliott

Dan Elliott has a thing for maps. In fact, when he isn’t doing his day job as the head of the communications design and graphic design programs at Harrington College of Design, he’s creating one-of-a-kind pieces of art using maps from all over the world.

Each piece starts out the same way: Elliott finds a great vintage map and researches quotes and typefaces that resonate with the region shown. (For a map of France, he picked a French quote that translates to “My glass breaks like a burst of laughter” and a typeface by an influential French designer.) Then Elliott hand-cuts stencils of the quote, attaches them to the map, and rolls ink over the entire thing. Once he removes the stencils he’s left with graphic prints in which the quote and map co-exist beautifully.

A handful of local stores carry his pieces (Transistor has some and Neighborly is going to begin carrying a few prints soon) but you can also snatch one up on Elliott’s Etsy page. An original will set you back $150 to $200, while a print is closer to $75.



Submit your comment

Comments are moderated. We review them in an effort to remove foul language, commercial messages, abuse, and irrelevancies.

Note: To serve its readers better, Chicago has migrated its comments to Disqus, a popular commenting platform. Please feel free to contact us with any feedback.