The United Shapes of America

A new addition to the online collection of iconography at The Noun Project is a series of vector graphics of the fifty US States. Detached from their familiar housing, the state boundaries reveal all sorts of interesting shapes

A new addition to the online collection of iconography at The Noun Project is a series of vector graphics of the fifty US States. Detached from their familiar housing, the state boundaries reveal all sorts of interesting shapes…

The Noun Project is billed as a free-to-access collection of the world’s graphic languages and one of its latest uploads is from designer Ted Grajeda – a series of vector files of all the US States.

While to many non-US residents most of the shapes may be unfamiliar, some – largely coastal formations – are more recognisable: Alaska, Florida, California, for example.

But displayed as flat, blank shapes, many of the interior States become brilliantly simplified constructions, occasionally deviating only on a corner or edge, and in those cases usually because of natural geography.

Take Nevada. That little south eastern quirk to an otherwise straight-edged form is the Bay area and Mohave and Mead lakes to the east of Las Vegas:

And the Dakotas (North and South) offer up some tight regularity of line on their northern, western, and southern sides, with a widly ranging border on their eastern edge. In the North, that’s the Red River dictating the eastern side:

Kansas, too, displays an errant north-eastern corner, where the Missouri River runs between Kansas City and St Joseph:

But for sheer no-nonsense boundary definition, how about Colorado and Wyoming?

Colorado is a mere 6,280 sqaure miles larger than Wyoming and, along with Utah, they are the only States which have borders that run only on straight latitudinal and longitudinal lines. Here, Colorado’s at the top, Wyoming below it (honestly):

But if that’s just way too much formalism for you, here’s Louisiana. Pretty.

Reminds me of Slartibartfast’s award-winning work on the Norwegian coastline (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy clip, here).

The Noun Project is ongoing at thenounproject.com. Grajeda’s page of US States is at thenounproject.com/freevectormaps.


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