GeoHumanities Graphics Guidelines

Failure to follow these guidelines may delay the publication of your article.

All graphics (maps, graphs, and photographs) should be submitted digitally in either EPS (Encapsulated Postscript) or TIFF (Tagged Image File Format). Graphics can be exported and saved in these formats with applications such as Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw. When exporting to EPS or TIFF, all fonts must be embedded. Graphic formats such as GIF, JPEG, PDF, and images produced in PowerPoint or imported into a Word document are not acceptable. All raster images (TIFF) must be saved with a resolution of 600 dpi.


A full-page graphic must not exceed 5.0 inches (wide) by 8.0 inches (long) including space for the figure caption which will be typeset by the printer. Intermediate sizes are acceptable. Please plan for possible reductions of type and symbols.

Figures that contain multiple component parts must be assembled into a single figure by the author. Normal order will utilize a full page width with A – B placed above C – D, etc. The author should insert the letters A), B), etc. slightly above and aligned with the left edge of the component.


Basic map design principles can be found in the following textbooks:

  • Dent, Borden D., Jeffrey S. Torguson, and Thomas W. Hodler. 2009. Cartography—Thematic Map Design, Sixth Edition. WCB/McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-294382-5
  • Krygier, J. and D. Wood 2016. Making Maps: A Visual Guide to Map Design for GIS. Guilford. ISBN 9781462509980
  • Field, Kenneth. 2018. Cartography. ESRI Press. ISBN: 9781589484399

Many basemaps available through GIS, mapping, and statistical applications (such as ArcGIS, QGIS, and R) are not acceptable for publication due to low resolution and small labels. Basemaps also contain features irrelevant to a map’s purpose.  If a basemap must be used, make sure its resolution is high enough to print and choose one without labels; then label only relevant features manually.


All type should be from common type families (examples: Arial, Times New Roman, etc.). If an unique type font is critical to the theme of the map, then a copy of the postscript font should be included with the final figure files, and its presence noted.

Type must be sufficiently large to be easily read at final print size; for the most part, no type smaller than 6 point should be used. Appropriate cartographic lettering placement should be observed.

Type placed on screen tints or area patterns must be clearly readable. White type can be used over dark screen tints, and area patterns can be lightened to prevent interference with type.

Generally, figure titles will be incorporated into the figure caption and will appear outside and below the figure. Figure captions should NOT be a part of the graphic. All captions will be typeset, and should be included at the end of the final manuscript file.

The International System of Units (metric) should be used; other units may be noted in parentheses.

Screen Tints and Area Patterns

To insure distinction between screen tints (particularly on choropleth maps), the following percentages are suggested:

  • 2 tints: 30%, 50%
  • 3 tints: 10%, 25%, 50%
  • 4 tints: 10%, 20%, 50%, 80%
  • 5 tints: 10%, 20%, 40%, 60%, 100%
  • 6 tints: 10%, 15%, 25%, 40%, 60%, 100%

Typically, graphics should not have more than 6 tints.

Color images must be submitted in CMYK format. Advice for using color available at

Final submission of graphics files

The figures should be labeled using the following naming convention: corresponding author’s name, the figure numbers, and extension for the file type. For example: figures for an article submitted by Dr. Jan Smith will be:  SmithFigure1.eps; SmithFigure2.eps; SmithFigure3.tif. The figure number must correspond to the figure sequence referenced within the manuscript.

Note: All graphics are referred to as figures. For example, do not label something as Map1, it would be a figure number.

To evaluate and test the quality of your figures prior to submission, print a copy of each figure using a laser printer at a print resolution of at least 600 dpi. After printing the figure, measure the width of the figure and verify that it is no wider than the journal’s page width and inspect the text and image for quality and readability. Increase text size where appropriate as it is important for the understanding of your graphics.

Final graphics files should be submitted electronically to AAG manuscript Central (along with the final manuscript file, tables, etc.) after the paper has been accepted.

Note: Color art will be (1) reproduced in color in the online publication at no additional cost to the author; and (2) reproduced in color in the print publication at no additional cost to the author, but only at the discretion of the Editors.

Please contact the Cartography Editor, Dr. Stephen Hanna ( with questions about file formats, production alternatives, and design problems.