Typographical Map of London


The Typographical Map of London, created by artist Joao Fonte, shows central London as a collection of symbols and words, arranged in a topologically representative form to show the city’s structure in a novel way.

We really like the way the artist has been careful in their choice, and number, of colours, these add significantly to the impact of the piece. The blue brushstrokes of the familiar shape of the River Thames, London’s most important locational feature, and the cream colour of the art paper, contrast pleasantly with the strong black colour of the text and graphics which are arranged carefully to fill their respective geographical space, creating a vivid and effective cartographical print.

If you look carefully at the print, you’ll spot all sort of nice visual flourishes, many of them linked to animals: “Canary Wharf” is captioned on a silhouette of – a canary, and St James’ Park’s visual motif is a pelican – the lake in the park has a famous colony there. Some of these annotations are very subtle and require a working pub-quiz memory, or good local knowledge. For example, Peckham appears with a butterfly. This is likely because of the rare Camberwell Beauty butterfly, so named because it was first seen here, and which is commemorated by a locally famous gable end, overlooking nearby Burgess Park, that has a giant tiled butterfly (see excerpt below). There are other types of visual clues to an area’s identity too – we particularly like that Dalston’s placename is adorned with a “hipster” handlebar moustache.


The map is a special edition version of an earlier design by the same artist. The updated version has been printed on 250gsm ivory paper, the river is now shown in the lovely blue colour, and the graphic has been extended to include a few new areas, including Peckham, Highgate and Maida Vale. It also includes a adapted version of the City of London crest, and a compass rose, both appropriate adornments for a cartographical piece which enhance the work. The print is available in A2 and A1 (huge!) sizes from A Great Little Place.

This is the first of a number of lovely London art print maps from Great Little Place that we hope to feature on Mapping London.

Mapping London is delighted to be affiliated to Great Little Place. We are looking forward to featuring a number of their lovely London map-based art prints here on Mapping London, in the months ahead.

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