Wednesday, January 20, 2010

À la carte (or, the map!)

As you may know by now, I don't like to follow tutorials—they save time and lead to correct results the first time, which certainly won't do for me! So rather than follow Mrs. Hibiscus' or Mrs. Spring Roll's tutorials (neither of which I thought to look at until after I finished my map/started writing this post—although my process was pretty similar to Spring Roll's except for the fact that her's looks better than mine), I determined that my minimal design skills would carry me through this DIY. I was right!

First, I went to Google Maps and searched for driving directions from the hotel I blocked rooms in to our venue (the two locations I wanted to mark on the map), then messed with the zoom and positioning until I could see the major freeways that almost any of our guests would need to take. Then I took a screen shot and pasted it into a new image in Photoshop.

Then I cropped to where I really wanted the map to cover, created a new layer to trace the major freeways and streets in varying pixel weights, and added some blue for the Pacific Ocean to ensure that no one drove into it, because I'm helpful like that.

Next I added freeway markers, city and street names, and a compass (solely because I'd just gone on a font downloading binge at and picked up a nifty compass dingbat font a few days earlier!).

The hardest part (for me) was deciding how to mark the venue and hotel, because I didn't have and couldn't find any dingbat that I particularly liked that was simple enough to still be seen on the scale of the map—they were too complicated and not really discernible in small sizes on such a large map. I just ended up using the star-shaped brushes that came pre-loaded into Photoshop.

Voilà! La carte!... er, see there! The map! Despite reinventing the wheel (and changing my compass mid-post, didja notice?), this still only took under thirty minutes, so I think it was a worthwhile project. I only plan to post the map to our wedding website (rather than printing it out to send with invitations), so that did make it a little easier to commit to, though. :)

Did you give your guests a map, or let them fend for themselves?


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