Advice for map tack shoppers...

The informative power of maps and similar static displays is undiminished in the multimedia age. A handmade presentation of pins stuck in a map never fails to attract and hold attention. For excellent reasons is "Pinpoint" noun, verb and metaphor. Map pins and map tacks will help you communicate effectively. Have fun!

Tip #1: Insert tacks or pins into a wall map at a downward angle to help prevent them from falling out.

Medium size 1/8 inch ball (#100 series) maptacks are the right choice in most cases. These are clearly visible from across a room. 21 colors plus an extra 18 marked combinations are available.

Small 1/16 inch (#200 series) maptacks are called for when pinning a small map. These are fairly visible from 6 to 8 feet away. The small size allows you to place more tacks in a crowded area of a map, but there are other ways to work in crowded situations.

Too many locations? Dozens of tacks jammed in close proximity can dramatically convey intense blanket coverage but can also obscure text and detail underneath. Try letting a flag, a larger or taller tack or even a special color represent a cluster of individual locations.

Large 1/4 inch (#400 series) maptacks work best on large maps. These are visible from across a very large room.

Map Flags are highly visible but can overwhelm the map itself if they are too numerous. One side of each flag has a matte surface for writing on. Pencil can be erased. On dark colored flags, use a fine point correction pen to write in white. You can also put stickers on flags.

Why long maptacks? (#800 series) If you are re-using holes and the shorter tacks are falling out, these might reach firmer ground. A long tack can nicely represent a special location by looming above its neighbors. These long pins, with stronger shafts and larger heads than pins meant for sewing, are excellent for use on dissecting trays.

Large 1/4 inch numbered maptacks (#1200 series) are the right choice in most situations. They are readable at 4 to 6 feet. Instead of a plain printed list alongside your display, try using matching tacks for the numbers in your explanatory table. This is especially helpful when more than one color is involved.

Small 3/16 inch numbered maptacks (#1100 series) may be needed where space is limited. Minimal and unobtrusive, small numbered tacks make an ideal key to small objects that will be viewed up close in a gallery or museum. Most people can read these numbers at about twice their normal reading distance.

"If it looks good, it is good" is usually a fine way to choose colors. There is nothing like red but it can be overused. Keep in mind that red connotes alarm. It may be a poor choice on a map with significant red elements or other deep colors.

Choose dark colored tacks if the map's background colors are white or pale. Choose white and light colored tacks if the map has strong colors. Look for a black and white or less colorful map if you want to present a multicolored maptack array.

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