J-Storm Urban Maps


You have a lot of choices. And it's quite likely you haven't seen a J-Storm in person, or anything quite like it. That's good because your maps will be quite unique and original. In fact, when J-Storm Urban Maps was launched in August 2012, the closest thing was Karen O'leary's paper maps which she cuts with an exacto knife! 

This uniqueness and the infinite number of options mean there's a few things to consider differently than when selecting paintings or framed posters. The maps are going to look awesome no matter what you pick (or else I won't send them). But you can get very creative with how you use these maps if you want. Here's just a few thoughts and suggestions after spending 1½ years making these. This is more to get you thinking about things you might not have considered; don't let it limit your decoration ideas or map choices. There are no rules. Make it your own!

Background matters. Unlike with a framed picture, you will see the wall behind the J-Storm Map. The colors become part of the piece. Make it your own! 

  • It's usually best to have a solid single color background, NOT patterned wall paper. Probably not a huge concern - but if you have plans to put these maps on top of stripes, paisley or flower print and this hadn't occurred to you - you might want to revisit.
  • If you are going to do it, please think through it ahead of time. If you are into rainbows, I'm sure you could come up with some pretty creative looks. That's awesome if you have a unique idea with a patterned background, just make sure you are doing it deliberately.
  • On top of the 2,000 single-map variations to chose from, you can do combinations an arrangement, and on different backgrounds for a truly unique layout. In fact, with the 22" Map cities and colors available now, there are 105.9 Trillion* possible arrangements of 4 maps in a 2x2 grid without using the same map twice. (Here's one of those on the right). If you add in different background colors, there should be enough options to be certain you've got a unique wall. 

Make a decision: High contrast or Low contrast. (or both...)

  • High contrast: If you have a white background, the bright Red, Blue, Green, and other more bold colors will really pop. That's high-contrast. If you do a big arrangement, it will dominate the space (in a good way!). It's probably what caught your eye and got you to this page. The risk is that if there's already too much going on in that room, it can add to the clutter. That's why the squares, grids, and straight edges are nice: They allow fora fascinating amount of complexity, but in an organized and consistent format. 
  • Low Contrast: For the same white wall, gold, silver, or even white-on-white can make a really clean, sleek, minimalist-feeling. It's a very smart design effect that's there when you are looking around a room with your artistic eyes open, but it's subtle and passive when the room is used as a neutral or professional space.  Gold, White and Silver maps on a white wall do this very nicely. Similarly, Black on Black, dark Blue on light blue wall, can do the same thing for different color walls.
  • Mixing High and Low Contrast: One of my favorite things about J-Storm Maps is making grids and arrangements. Mixing High and Low contrast colors can be really cool, but if you are not sure you're safest to stick with one or the other. Especially if you are doing something like a row of three bigger maps. I'd suggest getting all High or all Low. You want to keep the consistency and symmetry.
    • If you are doing a grid of many smaller maps, just have the Low contrast maps surrounded by High contrast maps, "framing" them into the pattern. Here's an example that sort of shows what I mean. I'll gradually add better pictures to illustrate this (and please send me pictures of your J-Storm Maps!!). This one is not that pronounced, but I probably should have put the white and silver ones in the two middle spots. If you blurr your eyes out of focus and look at this, you can sort of see how the lighter ones don't show up as well and it affects the bounds of the rectangle. This is what happens in your peripheral vision when you are in a room moving around and not looking directly at it. 
    • It's just something to consider. It might be neat to checker-board high + low contrast maps, or use them as pixels for patterns. You could do a fade from dark to light, or rows and columns. With the command strips and the spacer tool, you can play around with all sorts of configurations in minutes. Or change things up every few months to keep it fresh. 

 Write about color wheel, and how to check contrast to your wall

Detail and color

 Very small, very detailed maps don't look that good in dark colors. Gold is the best for these, and other lighter colors. 



Map size and viewing distance. How big is the space, and from how far away will it typically be viewed from? Big arrangements with a mix of big and small maps have the best of both worlds...







Q: What's the best way to hang these maps?

A: In most cases, 3M Command Picture Hanging Strips work the best. There's a whole page about it called "Hanging". (Note, these are not the 3M Command strips that are just adhesives for hooks, but the 3M package looks almost the exact same. I buy the wrong thing all the time.)


Q: How long will it take to ship my maps?

A: It can range from a few days to a few months. In the future, I’ll be posting some finished maps either on this site or etsy that will ship in a day or two, but for now they are all made to order. J-Storm Urban Maps is still fairly beta, and there are a TON of variables involved. Weather (for drying time), equipment breakdowns (very often but always repairable), software glitches, my own workload (I also do custom work and freelance industrial design), even traffic are just a few. Additionally, there is just a natural variation in the wood and sometimes the maps just don’t turn out right so I start over. As eager as I am to get orders shipped, I don’t ship maps that I’m not happy with. If it needs to be repainted or even completely remade, it will just take as long as it takes. You can rest assured that you will get that map though… eventually. :-)

It’s usually 2-3 weeks, but if your order does somehow pass the 2 month mark, I’m happy to double down. It happens. Just forward your confirmation email with the color/city for the free one.

July and August should be pretty fast, September and October will be slower as I’ll be in Michigan for ArtPrize 2014 (Unless you order a G-Rap Map!)



Q. Can I get a status update/ETA on my order?

A: At this point, status updates are not part of the purchase. I am gradually streamlining things and someday will be running smoother than Amazon Prime. At this stage however, please make sure you are comfortable with some uncertainty around delivery date before you order. Given all the moving parts, any estimate I make is likely to change 10 times and I just can’t type out a play-by-play for each order. They are all at some stage of the process, but I work on them in batches and there’s just not a simple answer to when exactly a specific one is going to be done. Estimates have a sneaky way of sounding like commitments or setting expectations; it usually just ends up generating multiple cycles of writing emails that quickly whittles down the size of those batches that I can get done in a day.

That said, feel free to shoot a note to check-in, or to be aware of a birthday etc. I love hearing from you! I’ll definitely read it (probably on my cell), and will do my best to factor in your timing if possible. But please don’t be upset if I don’t reply. I apologize in advance – I promise it’s really not to ignore you or be unresponsive. The vast majority of the day I’m on the shop floor, in the paint booth, at my computer (but in ‘design mode’), out buying materials, fixing machines, or some other thing that’s not really conducive to looking up orders and typing emails.

I know it can be frustrating to have found the PERFECT birthday gift and not know for sure if it will be there in time. The good news is that the maps will be awesome and people are always happy in the end. Thank you for your understanding. 





 52 cities, 11 colors is 572 variations.  572!/(568!*4!) = 4,413,752,910 possible ways to buy 4 maps without repeating. 572!/568!=105,930,069,960 ways to arrange 4 maps without using the same map more than once.

Globetrotter Challenge

Somewhere in this website there is a map that is deliberately wrong. If you know your cities, you'll spot it. IF you can find it, type the city, color and size of the map into the comment section when you place an order and you will get a free surprise. Welcome to send your friends here to look, but don't give the answer away!!!

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