Tough Li’l Duckies

There is nothing more intimidating than the gargantuan ocean  and its monster waves. On the 10th of January 1992, around 29,000 rubber ducks with some frogs and turtles form First Years bath toys were spilled onto the ocean from a cargo ship headed towards the east Pacific coast and embarked on a journey that would last for almost 20 years. The army of toys got caught in the North Pacific gyre, which rotates counter-clockwise (Northern Hemisphere), and took ten months to get washed up in the Alaskan coast. Years later, the adorable little duckies kept ending up on different parts of the globe like Australia, Japan, England, South America and around the North Pole. The map below illustrates their journey, which is nothing short of epic.

The map  shows the coasts where they got washed up in bunches, in order. The duck on the left is a big distraction, especially with its bright yellow and orange coloring. It was created in June 2007. The map was a supplementary image from a news article that documented their journey and wanted the British people to anticipate the ducks’ arrival on their shores. They even made a 2.5 meter tall Mother Duck to welcome the baby ducks near the coast of Cornwall. It’s appeal to the masses was immense.

But I digress. Examining it further, the map-maker decided to make it in a way that only the most basic information can be derived by the viewers, incorporating cartoon images and text balloons to further explain the major events that occurred. The title could have been more creative and the scale was bold and concise. The thick red arrows used could have been confused for warm ocean currents. And with the placement of the illustrations like the ship, ducks and text boxes, adding grid lines would have been too much visual noise. This, together with the very small scale of the map, made incorporating the ocean gyres impossible. I think that even just the faint lines of the 5 major gyres would have made the map more informative. The important parts of the text should have been broken down, made smaller, and put on other parts. For example, only the estimated number of ducks and date of arrival should have been put on their corresponding areas. The overall balance is off and contrast of colors is glaring. I still can’t dislike it though. Not with that Momma Duck watching me.

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