Backward Mapping

ARTS 175 students use this Calendar as a starting Point
ARTS 175 backward-map 2017

The basic purpose of Backward Mapping is to manage your time efficiently when multi-tasking several extensive projects at the same time. This organizational tool works quite well when you know what your final deadlines are.

Mark out days or weeks of known commitments, appointments, holidays, etc.—spring break, President’s Day, my birthday, etc. 🙂

Mark known deadlines for each project. (for example: spring semester 2017, ARTS 175, the final presentation/crit date is Thursday, April 11th). :

  • to present your portfolio to a panel of graphic design professionals for final exit interview—Thursday, April 11th
  • Successfully install senior project for exhibition in the Reynolds Gallery—April 24–May 12

To start a backward map (sometimes also referred to as a visual calendar) for any project:

start a project calendar for the months that you will be working on your projects by one of the following methods.

  • Print pages from this link. Blank Calendar Pages.
  • You can print monthly pages from iCal.
    • Show “Calendar List” from the “View” menu drop down list. Uncheck any categories that you don’t wish to print.
  • Do a screen shot (command + shift + 4) of each calendar page and place them into a background layer of Illustrator. Lock this layer. Add your projects each in their own layers above it.
  • Add project details to your Outlook calendar

From the known deadline, go backward for the number of days you will need to do major phases of that particular project. Even though you have not actually completed the work yet, you must plan, or set aside, the time necessary for that work to be completed. That work generally can be broken down into separate stages (Presentation, Printing/assembly, Comps., Thumbnails, Brainstorming, Research, etc.) You task is to set aside the amount of time you believe you will need to complete each of those stages to reach a successful final conclusion.

Create a timeline proceeding backward from the final deadline for the class indicating the major phases of each project.

Color code each project and each individual project phase.

Modify and adjust your calendar as you progress on each project.