To design these topographic maps, I combined hillshade textures with topographic lines and colors. Each of these three map layers were designed from the same Digital Elevation Model, downloaded from the USGS and visualized in Python or command line GDAL.
For some planets, I also included small illustrations of relevant topics - for example, this chart on the right visualizes the popularity of Google searches for the word "moon" throughout the lunar calendar. Each yellow line represents a different month, normalized to the maximum and minimum search frequencies, and the turquoise line visualizes the mean of all months.
I also included a small cutaway visualization of the internal structure of each planet. To show even the thinnest layers of each planet, I designed an adjusted diagram in Python where every layer has a minimum visible thickness. Below, the left half of each figure shows the actual thickness, and the right half shows an adjusted version where each layer has a minimum thickness.
These topographic maps are part of a larger collection of ten astronomy maps, so I developed a single design style to tie together each map. The design style included a cohesive set of colors and fonts, as well as an illustrated scrollwork border incorporated into many of the maps.
Before I learned Python and designed the spherical topographic maps, I also designed two space maps in Photoshop. The first is a topographic map of Mars, featuring hand-drawn pencil topographic lines and large markers for each rover landing site. The second map is a topographic map of Venus. Almost all features on Venus are named after famous women or goddesses, and the map includes extra text underneath each label explaining the origin of the name.