After many years of beautiful work, Lisa Hoffman, Burning Man’s volunteer BRC Map designer, is stepping down. This development allows for a new artist to show their skills, and offers an opportunity to rethink the traditional design. This role calls for nothing less than an infographics genius with attention to detail bordering on the obsessive, and someone who can demonstrate considerable talent and experience in illustration, design and print production.
Lisa’s Wisdom for New City Map Designers
The BRC Map has been amazingly intricate and diverse over the years. How did Lisa even do it? “Each year I tried to create something different,” Lisa says. “I always think it’s great when people are surprised that it has been the same person designing the BRC Map and Guide since 2001.”
For starters, she had major Burner experience under her belt. “1991 was my first year at Burning Man,” Lisa says. “I returned every year until 1995 when the City started to feel too big and out of control. That was the year many people I would soon become friends with started to go. By 2000 they had convinced me to come back. In 2001 I began designing the map.”
So intimate knowledge of Burning Man culture is a prerequisite. What about the creative process? Here’s how Lisa describes it:
I usually let the theme bounce around in my head a while before settling on a design direction. I feel that research and having time to marinate on ideas is the best way to get started. By May I would usually have the design narrowed down to one or two possibilities. In June the information I need from the Placement Team would start trickling in. By July everything needs to become final. The map goes to print the first week in August in order to be ready for the first volunteers on the playa at the end of the month.
A great example of Lisa’s ability to blend excellent infographics with an artistic interpretation of the theme is the 2010 map for Metropolis:
Lisa was granted official written permission from Transport for London to use the roundel inspired logo.
Up for the Challenge? Here’s What It Takes
Your vision/interpretation of the 2016 art theme
Here is where your artistry and genius comes in: please read through the full art theme “da Vinci’s Workshop” text before you start designing. Familiarize yourself with past map designs here. A successful BRC map designer is like a chameleon, changing stripes, producing distinctive visuals, exploring and exploiting tangential theories and philosophies, while at all costs avoiding obvious and trite representations of the art theme.
Your portfolio samples should demonstrate essential technical experience and skills
- Vector graphics expertise as a power user: Adobe Illustrator
with potential to incorporate Photoshop elements.
- Very strong typography skills.
- Prepress print interface management experience.
- Press check experience.
- Ability, comfort and capacity working under deadline (project timeline below).
- In short: “executability”.
The map and guide essentials
- 17 x 22” four-color process, printed on both sides, an edition of 80,000 pieces.
- BRC street grid graphic includes villages and legend icons (redesign potential).
- Callout enlargements of five city plazas (redesign potential).
- Index of 800+ camps and their nearest intersection (redesign potential).
- Map and Guide text listing city services locations and hours, and other useful info.
Collaboration is key
- This project is based and must be executed in the San Francisco Bay Area (sorry).
- Translate placed camp graphics and data from the placement team’s vector graphics mapping documentation and database export of map index.
- Your artistic vision will shine through this piece, while also taking a little direction from Placement management, to work within the established parameters of the BRC map.
- Work with our East Bay printer, including prepress management and press checks.
Project Timeline and Deliverables (Firm)
- May 30 – Presentation/approval of preliminary concepts and “sketches”.
- June 7 – Designer: refined visuals check-in #1.
BRC: basic city plan (streets and plazas).
- June 15 – BRC: village names and borders, locations.
Designer: refined visuals check-in #2.
- July 7 – BRC: Camp borders and index, final “map and guide” text.
- July 20 – BRC: revisions (post placement announce).
- July 24 – Color proofs: final proofreading and minor revisions.
- August 1 – Hi-Rez files delivered to printer.
- August 7–August 15 – Press checks, maps printed.
- August 17 – Maps shipped to BRC for collation with other acculturation materials.
IMPORTANT: If you cannot commit to this production timeline please do not pursue this project/role. Unfortunately there is no room for flexibility here, sorry!
Submission of Electronic Portfolio Samples
Please send web links to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 15, 2016
Hard copy samples by May 15, 2016 to:
BRC Map att’n: Placement
660 Alabama Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
Interviews/Samples in San Francisco
If selected, please be available for interview, with printed samples, between the hours of 10 am and 5 pm M-F.