Recently, I was invited to take part in a job interview for which I had to supply a three-minute video presentation on a topic. I didn’t get through to the second stage as, while the content of my video was almost spot-on it wasn’t creative enough.

This gave me the hump for a few reasons. Firstly, they didn’t explicitly ask for creative (now I know how agencies feel). Secondly, the reason it’s a three-minute video of me talking to camera is that there’s only so much I can do with the equipment and software to hand. Thirdly; what is “creative”, anyway?

Cos, you know, “creative” does not always mean “sensible”. Remind me to tell you the story of Butch and Blondie, the CO2 Savers, sometime.

Anyway, that ‘not creative’ thought rattled around my brain until it bumped into a thought about the MetroTrain Map. I mentioned that in a post last year, and that it had been drained of its original colours and route names. Turns out it also hadn’t been updated since 2017.

New skills

Image: updated MetroTrain Map for 2020
Updated MetroTrain Map for 2020.

So I downloaded Inkscape (the free version of Adobe Illustrator) and brought the map up to date (as you can see in this image).

I’d like to claim to be some sort of line drawing Inkscape Ninja, but the truth is that I had a 2015 pdf to trace over. As I started to trace over the old map I realised that Inkscape was recognising the paths, objects and nodes, which meant I could shave a few days off the work by SHIFT-clicking the ones I wanted, copying them and pasting them into a new document.

The edits and minor redesign are all mine though, as was the day spent making sure that everything was at exactly a 45º angle. My eyes still hurt from that effort.

So what?

Okay, I’ve done an update of a map. Woo-hoo. What can I do with it?

Well, not much. There’s an official map already. But I could stick it on a sheet of A4 and write a brief history of the map to go underneath. All I need is the text, then drop it and the map into Adobe InDesign.

And then what? Well… well: I used to produce the match programmes for Leeds Carnegie Ladies using InDesign. I’ve organised events and launches. I’ve worked with external designers on other things. Why not pull all of this together into a single portfolio document with InDesign and make it available as a pdf for download, as well as using it to update the Work section on this site?

That sounds quite creative to me.