Designing maps, online @ Café Craft

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Three weeks ago I enrolled myself in Anne Ditmeyer's class 'Map Design: Learn to Communicate Places Beautifully' on SkillShare, an online learning community that connects people with skills to share with those that want to learn them. I've been a long-time reader of Anne's blog Prêt-a-Voyager and admire her eye for beautiful images and type and her dedication to communicating how the two come together in perfect harmony within the world of travel. A keen and experienced traveller herself, and a great designer in her own right, Anne champions both talented creatives around the globe and the amazing places in which they live.

'Where I've Lived', Anne S. Ditmeyer, Prêt-à-Voyager
At first I was super intimidated by the idea of learning something online, outside of a classroom - the Gen X in me shining through! - as well as taking on a design course for the first time in my life and lack of design programmes installed on the aging laptop. In high school I hated art class, which I can attribute to the fact that the school's art teacher didn't shave her arm pits, which at the time, as a 14 year old, I just thought was kind of weird. And thus have never pursued anything creative at a formative level. I did, however, grow up loving Geography and maps in a 'left-brain' kind of way and thought signing up to the class was a good way to overcome any reservations I have to online-learning and channel the creativity I'm slowly developing into one outlet to give the right-side some exercise for a change.

A week ago, before the class started, we were asked to define what it is we'd like to make our map of in preparation for the start of the course, and I put forward a couple of random ideas that had been floating about in my head. However, when I realised yesterday that Mr M, Daisy and I are headed on a 7-day biking trip to the French coast in two weeks, which I'd booked forever ago and had forgotten about, I decided my project would have to revolve around that. I won't be disclosing any information just yet on my project, as the trip and its destination is actually a surprise birthday gift for Mr M, but let's just say I'm really excited to intertwine the two.

Image: Jose Bernad,
Hmmm, a clue! Mr M don't be clicking any links, now..!

The course commenced today and to make sure I was wasn't at all distracted to properly digest the course outlines I made the most of the glorious day and rode Vera (my bike) over to Café Craft by the canal, to join other mid-day workers for some computer and caffeine time.

While a lot of cafes shun the idea of letting freelancers and 'work-from-homes' set up shop on their tables - recently I saw a "No Bloggers" sign posted in a cafe's window! - Café Craft have gone the polar opposite and have provided an environment perfect for working outside the workplace.
Complete with a long shared table, divided by lamps and power outlets and decorated with pencils and pens, and a 'work formula' of two coffees or coffee and cake for 7€, customers can settle in to work away independently in unison. At the back of the cafe they have set up a boardroom-type atmosphere screened off from the rest of the cafe for privacy and lockers are scattered all over the place for customers' piece of mind. It was the perfect environment to kick-start my project and I'll probably be heading back before the week's out.

Anne's Map Design course has been developed with busy lives in mind and each milestone has been broken into small, easily-digestible sized pieces. While it starts today, its syllabus is such that you can join in at any time and work at your own pace. Plus, it costs only 20€, which is incredibly good value for access to the inner-workings of some of the most creative minds on the planet. If this appeals to you, where ever you are, click here and sign up! While I'd love to have you sit alongside me mapping at Café Craft, it'll be fun to join you in class all the same and be able to encourage you along with your own crafty project! So don't be tardy, and attend!

Map Design: Learn to Communicate Places Beautifully
Online map creation course run by Anne Ditmeyer, Prêt-à-Voyager
Until March 11

Café Craft
24, rue des Vinaigriers, 10e
Mon - Sat: 9h - 19h, Sun: 10h 19h
** I didn't take any pics of the shared spaces as they were full of people working and I wished to respect their privacy but if you head to the site linked above there is an image gallery of the cafe, including pics of all their work tables.



  1. Such a lovely post and beautiful pictures!! :)

  2. Thank you very much! Craft is really lovely, it was fun to take pictures there.

  3. I am so excited about this class!
    Was there seriously a "No bloggers" sign in the window? What next are they going to ask every blogger to ever so kindly take down their posts PROMOTING their space? Ridiculous....
    Still so exciting, and lovely photos as per usual.

    1. YES! It must have been in Sydney when I was home last because it was in English, but after rolling my eyes and scoffing at seeing it I've blanked which one from memory. Obvi. The hand-lettered sign propped in the window I'll never forget. So excited for this class, too! Such a brilliant idea of Anne's. Thank you for leaving such a sweet comment lovely Meg xx