1. Map title and year of data
2. Legend title that is informative (not “Legend”)
3. In legend, darkest color is with the highest values and at the top.
4. Data classification method should be at the bottom of the legend.
5. If it is a state map, state abbreviations are needed within each state, visually centered or use leader lines with consistent angles
6. Alaska and Hawaii next to each other below SW United States
7. Blank space on the left and right sides of the map should be minimal
8. “Map by *Your Name*” in a bottom corner
9. Source in a bottom corner, if known
10. Drop Shadow
11. Use a color scheme from Color Brewer.
12. Background colors should create contrast and help the map stand out.
13. Use layers: legend, title/name/source, background/border, US48, Alaska, and Hawaii layers