Preparing Your Own Maps and Figures

Software and File Types
If you are planning to prepare your own maps and figures, please give us sample files ahead of time so that we can check for software compatibility and give you suggestions about fonts, formats, and other elements.

We prefer to receive figures in application files that we use in-house: Adobe Illustrator (.ai), Adobe Photoshop (.psd, pdd, or .tif with layers), and Adobe InDesign (.indd). Figures made in non-graphics software such as Excel, PowerPoint, or word-processing software will not provide the best printed results.

If we are not able to work with the software you use, we will ask you to follow our guidelines and provide your graphics as PDFs, TIFFs, or Postscript (.ps, .eps) files. We may ask you to make additional changes after the illustrations are checked in editing, so it will be important to keep editable files until your book goes to the printer.

Size and Orientation
The majority of our books are 6 x 9", with a type area of 4.5 x 7.5". Graphics should fit within that size. It is best to provide artwork at the size it will be reproduced. Keep in mind that an illustration does not have to take up a full page; also, sometimes an illustration can spread across two facing pages.

We prefer that graphics be positioned upright rather than broadside, but if broadside is necessary, an illustration can be up to 7.5" wide and 4.5" high.

Type Style and Use
Use a typeface that can be read clearly at small sizes, such as Helvetica or Times Roman.

Upper- and lowercase labels (title style) are easier to read than all caps.

Labels should be between 7 and 9 points at size of reproduction; plan accordingly if you are preparing your figures larger than the size they will appear on a 6 x 9" page.
If we are using your files from original applications (such as .ai or .pcx) or EPS format, we will need all fonts. If art is approved in its final form, a high-resolution PDF or TIFF file will be adequate.
Patterns and Line Weights
Keep any keying system as simple as possible. Avoid heavy patterns such as crosshatching. We prefer plain screens of black in increments of 20%, starting with the lightest (20%, 40%, 60%). Screens over 80% will look black when printed.
Keep line weights between 0.5 point and 2 points; do not use “hairline” or very heavy rules.
Simple charts or graphs will be most clearly reproduced and read. Avoid “three-dimensional” bar graphs, pie charts, figures, and other elaborate formats.

Go back to Art Guidelines