Australia’s graphic gift

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Visual Communication, 2015, 14 (1), pp. 97 - 120
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© The Author(s), 2015. This article examines the shape of the map of Australia, and analyses how its inherent visual qualities contribute to its recognition and ubiquity as a symbol. It is argued that the effectiveness of the map of Australia as a widely used graphic symbol stems from the characteristics of its shape, and that its attributes reflect those fundamentals of form and composition commonly accepted by graphic designers as necessary for creating an effective design. The author presents an analytical framework that initially identifies how the visual uniqueness of a cartographic map creates a recognizable and memorable form, and then applies the principles of design in an original approach towards reaching an understanding of how and why the map of Australia serves as an effective graphic symbol.
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