How to design a ramen map

For the Amsterdam Ramen festival I have designed an Amsterdam Ramen map. In today’s blogpost I am sharing the creative process behind it. How to design an Amsterdam Ramen map?

First of all, you need to have the idea. The idea came from Susam Pang from She is a foodblogger located in Amsterdam and had done all the research about the ramen restaurants.

1. Specifications

You need to be clear about specifications of the map.
– what kind of information?
– what is the size of the map?
– what kind of style? (Lazy Pig’s sketchy style. This part was for me.)

basic idea Amsterdam ramen map

Susam had sketched the basic idea of the map and we discussed every part so I could create a plan in my head on how to design it.
– what kind of typeface?
– what kind of colors?
– what kind of drawings?
– what parts are free for my imagination?
– what kind of texts?

graphic design things

2. Designing

I started with drawing the Amsterdam map first. What kind of style will the map look like? Hand-drawn, flat design (blocked colors), sketchy? It takes some time to find a style to my liking. I used a lot of map drawings from Pinterest as inspiration. How detailed will the map be? What colors will be used? How to do hand lettering? All these questions need to be answered with a design choice.

Susam also had some nice examples which gave me inspiration. When a part of the map was done I showed it to Susam and got feedback. Is it to your liking? Do you think A or B? A lot of back and forth talking is needed to find something that the client will like.

Time is also important for creating ideas. Sometimes you need to let the design rest and your brain will continue thinking about it and come up with an idea. And thus is how a design comes together.

➜ visualizing ➜ trying out things ➜ failing and crying ➜ finding inspiration ➜ trying new things ➜ design should be okay now.

Here is a screenshot of my Illustrator file in the middle of the process. I drag a lot of inspiration pictures around the artboard.

making of Amsterdam ramen map

3. Software used

The map is drawn in Photoshop and then dragged into Illustrator for text editing. The sketches are drawn in Photoshop, because in Photoshop you can create a more sketchy feeling. I used a Wacom Intuos pen & touch medium to draw. During sketching I also learned that my Wacom has extra pen pins in the back. You learn something every day.

Have a lovely day, enjoy the sun!

Get the map

buy Amsterdam ramen map via

You can buy the map for 5,83 euro on You will get a printed A3 version posted to you.

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