Members of Rice Design Alliance and subscribers to Cite were the first to receive the map. It was embossed on the cover with no explanation. It feels like Braille. Many readers caress the page, experiencing it as a beautiful and ambiguous representation of the Houston region. Only when you turn to the Table of Contents page do you learn that it represents heightened cancer risk associated with exposure to air toxins.
The process behind the emboss is fascinating. PH Design, the graphic designers of Cite 93, carefully produced the map based on data from the EPA. Each shaded area was traced so that the various patterns could be placed. The printer, Specialty Bindery, was consulted throughout the process. Once the design was complete, a specialist crafted a brass plate to create the emboss. The plate was mounted on a Heidelberg offset press.
The result is a form that you can use to reproduce the map by taping a piece of paper over it and rubbing the page with charcoal. See the video below. You can make visible an invisible Houston.