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Cindy Brewer

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Cindy Brewer is a an author, famed cartographer, and American professor of geography at Pennsylvania State University. She has been a member of the Penn State faculty since 1994 and focuses her research and design on cartographic design. Perhaps most widely known for her online tool for selecting map color schemes, ColorBrewer, Brewer is considered a leader in the field. In addition to her work at Penn State and her influential online color advice tool, Brewer has also authored four books, more than 30 peer-reviewed articles, and 60 additional publications and cartographic design resources, which has generated more than 2,000 citations.

Furthermore, Brewer is an affiliate faculty member at the U.S. Geological Survey Center of Excellence for Geospatial Information Science and has been recognized for her contributions to the field of topographic mapping and cartography. For its part, ColorBrewer is known for being web, print, and color blind-friendly, revolutionizing the way in which maps are created.

Companies and Investments

ColorBrewer (Founder)

Lessons Learned

I have learned that, just because you don’t fit into a particular box or genre, you shouldn’t be discouraged.

There is always room for improvement and ways that you can introduce new ideas and concepts to people. You just have to believe in yourself and understand that success will not happen overnight.

My goal is to encourage people to think first and foremost about what kind of data they are trying to map and what they are hoping to accomplish. I think this can apply to all different industries and life, in general.

Simple isn’t necessarily synonymous with boring or bad. Sometimes, simple is what will draw people in and get them interested in the message you are trying to convey.

It is important to both know and understand your audience, as well as have a clear picture of what you are hoping to convey.

Never give up.

Inspiring Quotes

Cindy Brewer's Quotes

It’s pretty cool when I’m just minding my own business, reading a magazine or paper, and I see one of my color schemes.

Cindy Brewer

When you are trying to have people understand a distribution, but show it on geographic areas that get bigger as you go farther north, or stretch east-west because you haven’t bothered to select a projection, then you are misinforming the reader, even if your data is accurate.

Cindy Brewer

Influential Books

Cynthia Brewer - Designing Better Maps: A Guide for GIS Users