Rethinking Mapping Education
Large areas of solid color can easily look like figure and hijack the visual hierarchy. This ocean is only about 5% blue to subdue it.
Terrain naturally grabs attention due to its complexity, and often grabs the top of the visual hierarchy. Fortunately, in this map it is the main theme!
Small lakes are slightly darker than oceans to balance their size so they are roughly equal in the visual hierarchy. However, it could lead to readers thinking they are different things.
Often, when multiple images are blended with transparency, they produce a muddy result. How does this map make the mountains still look bright and clean? Multiply in Illustrator/Photoshop?
It takes some effort to notice that there are roads, railroads, and rivers on this map; they are clearly at the bottom of the visual hierarchy. Normally that would be a problem, but here it seems to work.
A good design enables grouping. On this map, one could quickly notice that there are many large lakes are found at the edges of the Alps. It is harder to make a judgement about cities because they are more subdued.
The shape of this map is rather unwieldy. Perhaps it would work as the front and back of a folding paper map.
I like how this legend includes explanations, since it is showing trail systems that may not be well-known to everyone.
Probably not just a default ArcGIS legend!
The white box and location is important for making the legend not get lost on the busy background, but it may make the legend more important in the V.H. than it should be.
A good title, with Location+Theme in a prominent place. The cute catchphrase could be easily misinterpreted: is it the trail network that is a work in progress, or the map?
For the most part, the trails stand out as the figure, except for the minor forest trails, which are often difficult to see. Use something other than brown?
Other than the shaded relief, generally the basemap works well in the visual hierarchy: detailed enough to be a useful reference, but very subdued.
Due to the underlying geography, there is A LOT of territory with no trails but lots of interesting relief, which consequently dominates the visual hierarchy. How could these large regions be toned down?
The large lakes would normally stand out in the V.H. due to size, but they have been lightened a lot to subdue them. The saturation may be too high, though.