I have been fascinated by maps my entire life. I was a huge reader from an early age, and I particularly loved the types of books that had maps of the characters’ world printed onto the endpapers.
Growing up in a small town founded in the late eighteenth century, our library had a huge hand drawn, slightly dimensional map from the late 1800s hanging in one of the rooms. I would study it intently to locate our house, and my friends’ houses, creating a mental connection between the drawing and reality. I even spent hours drawing my own maps of our neighborhood, carefully labeling all of my favorite spots.
On road trips, I passed the time studying the atlas, back when those were a necessity, plotting out alternate routes and wondering about the history of towns, roads, and streets. In college, I had a large map of the United States – just a regular old road map – pinned up on my wall as cheap art. After I spent six months in New Mexico during my junior year, I used it to keep track of all the places I had visited on my drives to and from Albuquerque.
I still think maps as art are pretty great. Reproductions are usually budget friendly and come in a variety of styles and colors. They’re also incredibly personal since you can select maps of places you’ve lived or favorite cities you’ve visited.
I was thrilled to receive a Des Moines city print from Modern Map Art. I had discovered the site earlier this year and was particularly drawn to the crisp graphic quality of their map art prints. When we moved, I knew the style of the print would be perfect in our new house.
They have hundreds of city prints available in a range of common sizes, so they’re very easy to frame. We received the black and white, but I also love the blue and white “blueprint” style print.
I framed our print in a simple black frame that I picked up at Michael’s ages ago. I have it propped up on our vintage credenza in the living room for now, but I am planning to hang it in our little guy’s nursery as part of a gallery wall.
The quality of the print is very high. The ink is a deep solid black, and the paper is thick and substantial.
You can also make a completely custom print using their custom map option to create a personalized map. You can select from a variety of styles, set your location on the map, and add your own text at the bottom. Here’s a version in white on black that I made of my hometown.
But, maybe even more than the city prints, I love their ski map prints. I still love to ski, even though we rarely get to go. It would definitely be fun to commemorate some of our favorite ski hills with map prints. Smuggler’s Notch was our go-to for many years. There are 94 mountain maps currently available as art posters.
I think that either the standard city maps, a custom map print in a simple black or white frame, with or without a mat, would make an amazing and thoughtful gift this holiday season.
Modern Map Art provided me with the Des Moines city map print, but my opinions are all my own.