If I ask you, what's the subject of this slide? What is it that your eye is focusing on? Okay, I think, it's pretty obvious that it's this circle here, right? Yeah, I mean, okay, if you want to be smart, yes, there's a title down here but let's ignore that for a second, right? I'm talking about visual hierarchy. So, there's a reason for this, is that your eye is looking for things that stand out that are different, and that's what they're going to focus on. Your brain is actually really good at tuning out things that are the same. What it's looking for new information. So, if you look at this, there's not much information, nothing is changing, and your brain goes, "Um, not much to see here." But you add this in and suddenly your brain says, "Okay, this is something I'm supposed to focus on." But why is it that you're supposed to focus on? What's making that happen? Well, the fact is that it's in the center of the slide, so your eye is drawn towards the center. The fact that it's high-contrast, so it's dark compared to the background. We actually even have a dark circle as a ring around the edge of it to help delineate it from the background. It's very well contained. Because it's a circle, it's not some weird shape. All of these things are contributing to the fact that your brain wants to see this as the subject of this map. So, that, of course, makes it high in the visual hierarchy in that what your brain is drawn to first to your eye is going to be seen as more important. What if I put a grid behind it? When I put a gradient like this, the first thing that your brain does, and I think, this happens without even thinking about it, is you automatically want to see this grid as being under the circle, okay? It's not. I don't mean to blow your mind, but these lines actually ends, the gridlines end at the circle, there's nothing magical in the screen where those gray photons or whatever or some house streaming underneath that blue circle, but your brain wants to think that it's underneath. That's fine, that's actually a good thing for us because what it does is it makes us think that this grid is farther back, it's farther away from us and that this circle is closer to us. So, now, we have this visual distance that's also a way of looking at visual hierarchy. Things that are closer to us tend to be interpreted as being more important. Things that are farther away are seen as less important. So, just by putting in this little grid in the background, I've made the circle more important. If this will relate to maps, of course, we can use things like a graticule or a grid of latitude and longitude or things like that to put something in the background that makes the subject of our map more close to the viewer and higher in the visual hierarchy. So, we're able to change the visual level in a way to indicate rank or value, and really that just means importance. So, when I'm talking about rank or value, it's like what is it that's more important, less important, higher value, lower value. So, the subject, this circle, in this case, but anything that's the subject of the map is called the figure and the background is oddly enough called the ground. So, we have a figure-ground relationship. That's something that we want to establish and work with in order to help establish that's visual hierarchy. Just to point something out, is you'll notice that I put a little drop shadow on these labels. So, this actually, especially with the figure here, this drop shadow and this label looks like it's on top of the circle and the circle is on top of the grid. So, now, I have three visual levels. So, I did that intentionally because I want the label to stick out so that it's more obvious to you as you're learning about this, but it's also a way of indicating that there's different ways to establish these distances of these visual levels and to establish this visual hierarchy. Is not that crazy. Is not that awesome, I like. The figure ground, there's different ways to establish it. You can think of it as describing the strength of the figure-ground relationship. So, here, we have a weak figure-ground relationship. We have a circle and a grid but there's no contrast between the two. The circle hasn't been filled in. They're the same color. So, it's really not clear to somebody if they were looking at that, what is the subject of this map or this image or this graphic thing? If you want to think of it that way. So, it's unclear, and when something is unclear, it makes you work harder. You're kind of looking at it going, what am I supposed to see here? If you fill that circle in and make it gray, already, we have a stronger figure-ground relationship, that's what we would see here is that now it's becoming more clear to somebody, that the circle might be more important or higher in our hierarchy. Then, if I fill in that circle, give it a color, and have an outline or that darker blue to distinguish it or differentiate it from the grid, then we have an even stronger relationship. So, we go from an unclear figure-ground relationship to a more clear figure-ground relationship. If we look at this map, I purposely tried to use a similar way of establishing this figure-ground relationship and visual hierarchy is that you can see that the map, I use a thick line to delineate the outline of the subject area that the mapped area itself is darker and higher contrast than the background. So, instead of using a grid as the background for the map, well, I mean like a square grid, I've actually used a road network so that, and I've used a light gray background for that as well to do the same effect, so it looks like the road network is farther away or underneath the subject of the map. So, we have a visual level here and a different visual level here. I also put water in here but it's very light color to make it fill in the map but it's still background. If the water had been a really, I don't know, bright blue or really dark blue, that wouldn't work as well because then people would start to say, "Well, why is that so obvious? Why is that so prominent on the map? Maybe I should be looking at that." When really that's not what I want. What I want is for them to say, "Oh, there's a light blue there, that's water." But that doesn't seem to be the subject, let's look at some other things. So, that's the thing I'm going for here is a way of, what I'm trying to get you to see here is that there's these, I can talk about abstract things like circles and grids in squares in saturation, but how does that relate to what you're actually doing on your map, the decisions you're making in the software in relation to, do I make it this color or that color or this thickness or that thickness? So, I wanted to show you a real example of a map and say, "Oh, so that's what we're talking about." You can actually see some things are closer to the reader or farther away, better in terms of figure, ground relationship and so on. So, I hope that's clear. Another example we can look at here of figure ground is, if I just showed you this and said, what is it that you're looking at? Now, it's possible because it's such a famous outline that you might recognize Italy right away is the coastline of it. But even so your brain is probably trying to figure out, well, what is this line? Is this land? Is this water? It's a very weak figure-ground relationship. If I do this though, suddenly things start to look a little bit better because we have different colors. Our brain can start separating things out into separate regions. So, that's actually already better in terms of figure-ground, but it's still not really obvious what the subject is. What if I do this? Well, that's actually really confusing. I've seen people do this where they'll actually make the land this light blue and it's like people, one of the most obvious rules of a map is that if somethings light blue, it better be water or it might be, and only if it's really obvious that it's something else, okay? Like if it's part of a range of blues that are related to temperature something else. But if you're just making a regular map, try to avoid using light blue unless it actually is water. All right, so we actually have good figure-ground here in a way. We have good separation but it's again not really obvious what it is we're supposed to be looking at and it's a bit confusing in terms of the color scheme. Oh, but what if I do this? So, this is much better. So, not only do we have separation between land and water based on color. I've used an outline of the coastlines to separate the two. I've used a graticule which is the name that we used for the grid of latitude and longitude lines. Again, it makes it look like it's going under the land so the land becomes closer to the viewer. The fact that I've labeled these, I didn't do a super great job with these, I just did it relatively quickly, but the fact that there are outlines of countries and labels draws people's attention to the land and makes it more clear again that that's the subject of the map. So, we have these visual levels. We actually have the water on one level, the land on a closer level and then the labels on the land are even closer again. So, we have a stronger figure-ground relationship that makes it easier for people to interpret the visual hierarchy and figure out what it is they're supposed to focus on.