Illustrated maps are designed to persuade a viewer to buy something like a tropical vacation, a brand of wine or a version of the American dream. The 1920’s to the 1960’s were the golden era of illustrated maps in the United States. The maps showed the vibrancy of the economy and popular culture. The US economy was growing and businesses have lots of money for advertising.
Most of the map illustrations were commissioned by companies and printed on brochures and posters to be used as a marketing tool. Others were created for tourism agencies and local chambers of commerce to encourage visitors and businesses to visit a place.
Most of the illustrated maps were geographically inaccurate because the focus was more on aesthetics of simplicity. The map of USA wonders cannot be used for navigation or way-finding but it is a perfect tool to advertise places that tourists have to visit. When printed as a poster, it can be a conversation starter.
Playfulness is quite common in illustrated maps. The maps reflect the pride of people towards their community as well as the usual American cheerful optimism that is very appealing. Map illustrations are lavishly illustrated with colors to make it a fascinating piece of art. While they are not suitable for a geography student, the map illustration can spark an interest for distant places and different cultures.
However, photography took over American advertising and ended the career of some map illustrators. There are still map illustrators today but they have never regained the mid-century popularity. Thousands of map illustrations can still be found in the Library of Congress and elsewhere as reminders of the good old days. Map illustrations are an unappreciated form of art except by people who still value their appeal.
You can access different examples of map illustrations through IllustratedMaps.com that can be used for advertising purposes. You can have a custom map illustration commissioned to send your message to consumers. You can advertise a resort or a tourist destination through a colorful and cheerful map illustration that can easily attract the attention of an audience.