My brother Georgi recently compled the illustration of this regenerative design (not the design itself). Have a look at our facebook page for more details on the design. And when it came time to presenting it to the client we realised that the legend had to be included as well.
Now, we’ve been using legends where samples of the elements on the map/illustration are put in a separate area outside the map and given a name. Another approach is to place the names of the elements around the map and point with lines from the name to the actual element, but this prove to be very messy. At the end you were looking at a spider web.
Finally, the third approach is to add numbers to each map element and replicate those outside the map with a given name for each.
Few critical details made this work in our case.
First, the colors of our Huma brand were used as this is also the style of the illustrations we do. You can see the darker border with the logo color and the number background, which is one of our brand colors as well (notice the paper texture on our website for an example).
Second, you have a very thin black border around the number which in combination with the other two colors makes it stand out on busy background of the illustration. Also we use our brand typeface for entering the numbers and the names of the elements.
Third, the logo of the farm Copia is aligned to the right edge of the illustration. It is also aligned to the top of the image on the same distance as the left (first) column of the legend is aligned respectively to the left side of the image. This gives an invisible pattern that the eye recognizes (since our brains always look for patterns).
Third, the legend columns and elements are structured perfectly the same distances from each other, both vertically and horizontally to give even stronger sense of pattern and order.
Finally, notice how the furthest to the right column and it’s first element, then create a line between it and the first element on the middle column at the top. Notice how this line flows in a similar manner as the edge of the illustration. This all, again, aids structure and allows the eye to follow the composition without disturbances.