You keep hearing the same idea over and over where the most beloved pieces are those that the creator painstakingly went over the details. Rightfully so! And that's because it's the only way you'll ever elevate your creation to its fullest potential.
The same can be said of Imus' map which beat out other institutions in the annual competition of the Cartography and Geographic Information Society, and took nearly two years to make.
Karen Gellman explains how his map excels:
My husband is a medical illustrator, I am a medical professional who uses such illustrations. He can take 200 photographs during a new surgical procedure, distilling them into one or two drawings that convey the essential information for other surgeons to learn the technique. A photograph of a surgery is a hot mess, like a satellite image. You can find the information, but only if you already know what you are looking for. A well-done illustration (or map) directs your eye to the detail that matters.
It's a lot easier to be very specific than very general-- which I believe is Mr. Imus' great achievement-- he has made decisions (too many to count!) for a huge body of information that can effectively serve those many people who want to know both the big and small picture about ourselves. Now, living with an artist, can I make wall space for it?
In the decorating world, painting the walls is one of the simplest actions you can do and if you leave things at that, the change is certainly an improvement. However, it isn't the best you can do and people will instinctively know. If you push yourself and spend that extra time in rearranging the furniture, selecting the right color curtains, shining light to strategic parts of the room, etc only then can you finish your art piece.
Not focusing on the details means not completing your design. Designing is like a race where you stop midway if you work solely on the big picture. It is making these relatively small decisions from the "bottom" that decides how well the final design matures. These decisions bubble up from the bottom to the surface.
You need to take it to the end. Complete the race! If the details aren't there, your creation will be like a cake deprived of inside filling.
Draw something quickly and people will glance and just as fast turn away. Fill in the gaps and the audience will want to take a closer look. Don't think people can't perceive this from a quick look.