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Monday, November 17, 2008

Hidden Treasure

“Maps are central to the human experience... In many ways, the history of maps and mapmaking is the history of human society.”
-- The World Through Maps by John Rennnie Short

I’ve been working with our graphic artist here at work to create a logo for a new client. The first “direction” we were given was to include, in some way, a world map – perhaps even a treasure map.

Unfortunately, four weeks later, we’re still frantically searching for the hidden treasure of a perfect logo buried somewhere deep in our creative sand. Let’s just say that we’ve successfully dug up many empty chests and fools gold.

The process has got me thinking a lot about hidden treasures and creating. Not too long ago, we had my family over to my house for dinner; one of the things I did to keep people occupied was hide a dozen our so items throughout the neighborhood and handed out a “treasure map” complete with landmarks, hints, and GPS coordinates. One child and a couple of childlike-adults enjoyed the search for hidden trinkets.

There are a couple of popular global “treasure hunt.” One is called Geocaching, which involves finding hidden caches/treasure by use of a GPS. There is also a similar game called Letterboxing that involves clues just as starting at a point and walking x# paces to a landmark. Both ways are great for not only finding the prize, but also finding new locations you never knew existed or landmarks you’ve seen a thousand times but never really stopped to take notice. Some are deep in the woods, some are right out in the open near a busy road. In both cases, it helps to have with you one of the greatest inventions in the world -- the magnetic compass. If it’s not the greatest invention that changed the world, it’s certainly the one that heralded a revolution in medieval mapmaking and exploration.

Creative Knights, too, need good maps and a compass to navigate our daily world. Without clear directions, we’d be lost with no direction known (like a rolling stone) and creative ideas would just stay lost in the mental world of uncharted waters. Without a compass to give us some clear direction, how do we know if we’re heading in the right direction, if not running around in circles?

When creating whatever it is we Knights create, it’s fun to be given some directions and start out hunting. Of course, it’s also exciting and necessary to go out and explore beyond the known mapped limits of the universe (or imaginations). How else does the unknown become known and, well, mapped? Or, asked a different way, how else does a new idea get on the map?

Sir “Cartographer” Bowie of Greenbriar


  1. Good blog there bowster... one to read and read.

    yikes 4 weeks??? What you palying at??? i get a brief and the customer gets 3 hours of my time... and for that they get six or seven logos to choose from..and if i'm not close i'm asking what the hell they are thinking then... I'm usually close to within another hours work...:)) How do you charge out 4 weeks?..or are you sitting on it like an egg and hoping it will hatch.

    Send the brief over here ( color(s), company name and job...etc ) and i'll do a free one for you and you can buy me a beer, and pay me the rest when i see you LOL..

    Sir Dayvd ( Motifs-R-us UK )of Oxfordshire

  2. wow what an offer-take him up on it and we'll clear our bill next year when we cross the pond!

    one observation of our geocaching experiences together:

    the male mind uses the GPS and written clues

    the female mind thinks "where would I hide it if it were me...?" along with the word clues as guides

    similiar to the book "Men are from Mars and Women from Venus" which we've read and generally agree with
    as men and women do think differently and process information differently

    like most of life - a good team works together to find the prize

    sometimes we approach the mission seperately, search alone, then meet up at the end and celebrate the process even if we don't find the geocache on that day - try, try again!

    Lady Suzanne
    a.k.a. Mrs. Kuhndog in geocache land

  3. Never tried a geocache; however, armed with a GPS enabled iPhone I should give it a whirl. The last scavenger (treasure) hunt I did was during "Hell Week" when I pledged a fraternity. I had to find a used pair of panties. Needless to say, this dog sniffed them out! That was light years before GPS.

    I've been traveling the highways and bi-ways of Central Ohio and Pennsylvania the past 6 days. I've been using my Garmin Satellite Map direction system, complete with talking lady to take the place of Lady Allwinky to tell me when to turn and what to do. You can even use these walking too.

    Yesterday, I decided to turn the damn thing off and explore on my own when I had a few free hours at the end of the day. There's still something to be said about being mapless on the road to discovery.

    I found a little tavern where I heard the Eagles singing "Don't let the sound of your own wheels make you crazy."

    Sir Hook Trying to Take it Easy of Warrick