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Ad Council Offers Up Almost a Good Map

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Tuesday, February 16, 2010, at 09:02AM
MAP Ed Fuentes

As regular readers know, maps of Downtown have taken their share of liberties with our geography, particularly when it comes to where landmarks are located.

When this new map, part of a campaign by the Ad Council encouraging parents to spend quality time with their children, started popping up around Downtown, we had to take a look.

Overall, the map is a success. The message may get lost for those driving by, but for those who get a chance to take a look while walking past or waiting for a bus, the strong composition of the design gets the point across clearly.

It's the map's data that lets it down. Missing are the Los Angeles State Historic Park (better known as the Cornfield), Vista Hermosa and even Pershing Square. Those could be conscious choices: the art direction relies on keeping the markers balanced with negative space.

Less excusable is the prominent presence of the Los Angeles Children's Museum, which left Downtown in 2000. Ambitious plans to open at a new facility near Hansen Dam took a negative turn when the museum filed for bankruptcy protection in April 2009. Even if the museum were still Downtown, the map finds it a good two blocks west of its former L.A. Mall home.

Still, the piece isn't quite worthy of the "Bad Map" moniker. By featuring small pocket parks and lesser known neighborhood Recreational Centers along with the Natural History Museum and California Science Center, the main message that a park doesn't have to be fancy is focused and clear.

A good Downtown map; so close, and yet not quite.

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