Financial Times Goes MapBox: Design Matters

August 02 2013 by Alex Barth

The Financial Times' signature pink brand can now be found in its maps too. They completely nailed the new map design, integrating both the distinctive pink color scheme and their in-house font into their newly launched MapBox vector maps. More than just allowing brands like the Financial Times full custom control, this new vector tile technology does it at scale, letting the FT’s global readership experience fast maps in every country, on any device, under any traffic load.

The new Financial Times maps in a recent analysis of the Syrian civil war.

This is best said by Martin Stabe, Financial Times journalist and interactive news team lead:

“The new Financial Times maps are a key component to our expanding use of maps in the news. The beautiful custom design is an integral part of the experience on ft.com. The maps will be the canvas for everything from simple locator thumbnails to interactive news apps. The open standards of MapBox maps allow us to mix and match with other technologies depending on the project at hand allowing for the flexibility needed in a fast moving technology landscape.” Martin Stabe, Financial Times

From a simple pin orienting readers to a story to a base map for interactive data visualizations, the Financial Times' maps communicate the strong visual identity of the paper as a canvas for all things news.

Using a subdued color palette, only place labels and roads at higher zoom levels stand out, and even then in a subtle way. The land bodies inherit the warm, signature pink of the Financial Times - a color mixed into the map’s entire palette. Together with the paper’s in-house font, this makes the maps feel as though they exclusively belong to the Financial Times. White roads add a simple, familiar landscape and their hierarchy is delimited only by line widths - limiting the number of colors distracting users from more important content. Labels for all features balance between being backgrounded while maintaining legibility.

Previously publishers haven’t had full design control over maps, but this is quickly changing. While at the moment we are offering custom branded maps to a select few partners, expect us to roll out this feature soon for all MapBox plans. Contact us if you’re interested in our partnership programs.

The new Financial Times maps use a subdued version of the Financial Times color palette and the paper’s in-house fonts, resulting in a design that seamlessly integrates with ft.com while being an extremely versatile canvas for a variety of applications.