Read the laudation by Tim Trainor, President of ICA, below:
Dr. Cynthia Brewer is a Professor of Geography at The Pennsylvania State University where she served as Head of the Department from 2014 to 2021 and Associate Head from 2006 to 2008. Dr. Brewer is widely known for her contributions to color theory in cartography, with the most impactful of her accomplishments being ColorBrewer, a web application that has helped innumerable people worldwide make appropriate and perceptually viable color choices for thematic maps. These color schemes are found today in commercial and open-source software packages used by tens of millions of people every day. Few others in our field can make any such claim to broad, daily impact on so many around the world. Her impact on the field of cartography has cemented her reputation as the world’s foremost expert on color in cartography, earning international acclaim. Dr. Brewer’s work does not stop with color, however, as she has led other significant projects all aimed at helping people to make better maps. These additional works include, among others, ScaleMaster, a tool developed though collaboration to provide guidance on generalization and multiple representations of geographic data.
Her work has influenced the field to such an extent that the notion of creating a Brewer has become a goal for other academic Cartographers. For example, she has inspired the creation of TypeBrewer and Map Symbol Brewer. A lesser known but nonetheless very significant contribution by Dr. Brewer concerns her outstanding record of service to the discipline in all major areas of our profession, where maps and other forms of visualization are indispensable.
Dr. Brewer’s excellence is evidenced by the high quality of her work and her dedication to helping mapmakers and the mapmaking community worldwide, which provide the justification for her becoming the 1st female recipient of the ICA’s highest honor—the Carl Mannerfelt Gold Medal.