Brian Dixon

Exploring the relationship between people, place and visual re-presentations

My name is Brian Dixon. I design, research and teach.

My Mapping Work

Since undertaking an MA in Communication Design at Central Saint Martins, the visual design of maps has become a strong focus in my work. Over the course of my study I developed a mapping method centred around the human experience of routes and rather than true geographic referencing. Following this method, the positioning of map symbols denotes the place a map-user can expect a feature to appear along a routeway as well as the orientation that the feature will be encountered at. (Please see the work section for further details.)

My PhD Research

As of late 2015/early 2016, I have just submitted my practice-based PhD thesis, undertaken at Central Saint Martins in London. In the PhD, I investigated the visual design of GPS-enabled apps aimed at urban recreational walkers. Focus was directed towards developing a visual design which allows walkers to maintain an awareness of their surroundings as they wayfind with apps. The final outcome is a protoype which references the directions of immediate features in the environment so that walkers can rapidly orientate themselves based on what they see around them.

Where’s the Name From?

‘Light follows rivers/ I do too’. The lines are extracted from American beat writer Jack Kerouac’s ‘San Francisco Blues.’ I read that poem, or at least long sections of it, in 2006 and found its themes of travel and life and experience resonant.

South Leinster Way, Hiking Map

A hiking map, charting the South Leinster Way, an Irish walking route extending from Kildavin in Co.Carlow to Carrick on Suir in Co. Tipperary. The map is presented as one long linear strip, marked through kilometre sections measuring 2cm. Symbols are positioned as they’re encountered – on the left on the right, a river is crossed or followed. North’s orientation in relation to the path is offered at each kilometre section. Thus the path is represented as a process.

1200mm x 100mm

Thames Loop, Walking Map

A circular map, depicting a loop walk around the Thames from Westminster to Tower Bridge and back. The circular form reinforces the concept of return. Bridges are shown to link across the river. Guiding landmarks appear in black on the same bank and as yellow ghost impressions on the opposite bank.

500mm x 500mm

Dublin Adventure Way, part of Dublin's Science Gallery's HACK THE CITY

A1 Posters


This booklet was produced with the brilliant Clare Bell for IMRAM – an Irish language poetry festival. Set in Seria, it was an attempt to present Irish language typography both carefully and confidently, allowing the text to gain full impact.

210mm x 112mm

ATypI Maps

I was asked to produce a series of maps for the ATypI 2010 conference in Dublin. It was an enjoyable exercise. The main world map – showing speaker’s countries of origin – was composed of a multitude of tiny alpha-glyphs representing among other things: culture, language, climate, topography.

Concept Maps

A series of concept maps, with each isolating a particular subject. The first is a map of London’s junctions. The second is of Britain’s motorway network. The third is of London’s parks. With the final one listing Ireland’s islands by county in their relative position.


A Book About a Quarry

A small booklet telling the story of quarry site in Arklow Co.Wicklow. Through a compositon of watercolour illustrations, each double page spread presents a separate theme connecting the site with the locality in both contemporary and historical terms.

180mm x 150mm

Stockholm Map

I was commissioned by the hard working girls at Nectar & Pulse to produce a map for their first travel guide publication focusing on the city of Stockholm. Reflecting material packaging, a cardboard background was used to depict land. In keeping with the girl’s vision of playfulness and spontaneity, random images layer over the city.


T: @lightfollows

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