Michael Wood’s (1968) article entitled ‘Visual Perception and Map Design’ aimed to develop a flexible grammar of map symbols that cartographers could use to guide their design of maps and that was based on the limits and capabilities of visual perception. Wood wanted to provide a positive counterpoint to the ‘how not to design maps’ approach Robinson (1952) often took in The Look of Maps. Working within the paradigm of the cartographic communication model of map design, Wood argued that when maps fail to communicate accurately, this failure is often the result of a set of design decisions that ‘prevents the separation or disentanglement of superimposed patterns’ (p. 55). He drew upon psychological literature to review aspects of the visual perception of colour and form. Then, applying his findings to a cartographic context, he advocates for the use of visual planes and depth cues to remedy the problem of superimposed patterns, relegating the least important map elements to the lowest planes in the map. In so doing, he echoes several earlier arguments presented by Robinson regarding the use of visual planes within cartography (1960) and the need for coincidence between the map’s intellectual and visual logics (1952). Finally, he makes a set of practical suggestions about symbolization decisions, such as the choice of visual variables, which will help the cartographer to create visual planes within the map and provides what he terms an example of applying his guidelines to a particular dataset, though without an accompanying graphic illustration. The title of the article notwithstanding, Wood also ventures briefly into the realm of the cognitive and explores the making of meaning from symbols for map readers.