Canal Trust - Super Slow Way illustrated map

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I am pleased to announce that recently Switchopen was commissioned by the Canal Trust arts project - Super Slow Way, to produce a map of the Liverpool to Leeds Canal.

This was no ordinary map of a canal, but a map highlighting all of the local attractions and wildlife that is dotted along the canal route. 

Switchopen was commissioned to illustrate the map and its attractions.

 Previous to the commission, Switchopen was also asked to produce a pattern, that was inspired by the canal. The pattern would then be used on specially created merchandise and promotional aspects for the project. The pattern can be seen on the front cover of the pocket sized map.

Above in the pictures, are all of the attractions Switchopen illustrated along the route.

Inspiration behind the pattern

I have always love canal boats, mainly for their distinctive individual colour schemes and quirky painted names. I used to eat my lunch in Castlefield basin in Manchester when I used to work at a local gallery. Each day I would spot individual quirks on each boat. I often spotted odd shapes and symbols that ran along each of the boats, and always wondered what they meant. 

Researching, I came across the symbols and shapes represented certain sections of canal within the region. With the illustration commission for Super Slow Way, I focused upon this area of interest for my response. The shapes and colour schemes became a pattern, all derived from sections of paint schemes from canal boats on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. I wanted to capture the colour, shapes and the period, but present it with a modern twist, whilst still ultimately being recognisable to the canal system.

Switchopen also produced 16 different icons of the local attractions, utilising the 4 colours of the pattern. 

1. Stanley Dock – Liverpool

2. Liver Birds

3. Aintree Racecourse

4. Parbold – ancient sail-less Windmill

5. Rufford Old Hall 6. Wigan Pier

7. Wigan Flight of 21 locks

8.Chorley Textile mills

9. Old paper mills at Withnell Fold

10. Eanam Wharf – Blackburn

11. Weavers Triangle - Burnley

12. Barrowford Locks

13. Gargrave Aqueduct

14. Bingley 5 rise locks

15. Saltaire – Salts Mill

16. Kirkstall Abbey

Lastly, all text and information on the map itself was gracefully laid out and handled by the local graphic design company Source Creative (Blackburn)