It's usually done when there are a bunch of objects in a photograph and it's hard to identify them or refer to a specific one without confusion.

For instance, I've seen this done with jigsaw puzzles that have a certain theme, and on the back, there's an outline illustration that has numbers on it that correspond to a numbered list of elements.

I've seen something similar done with mountain ranges, where it's hard for a person unfamiliar with the individual peaks to pick them out.

An example: An example with mountain peak names

I feel like it's kind of a "retro" approach, but because I don't know the right words to describe it, I'm finding it near impossible to locate other examples.

EDIT: I just found a better example from this blog post: Box front Box back

They call it a key, which feels right though mostly I keep finding images of literal keys. ;)

  • 6
    A legend perhaps?
    – Scott
    Jun 26, 2014 at 5:51
  • 7
    I was going to go with "key." Jun 26, 2014 at 9:59
  • 3
    I agree with Scott and Lauren. Key, or legend. Both are acceptable. Remember key has several meanings in English, so if you google it, you are going to get the most common kind of key, which is obviously not this kind of key.
    – Billy Kerr
    Jan 31, 2019 at 11:11
  • 1
    Can I toss "index" onto the pile?
    – Stan
    Jul 30, 2019 at 18:42
  • 1
    A "key" sounds right... We use the term in broadcast design when using transparency
    – curious
    Jul 30, 2019 at 20:18

3 Answers 3


I've always seen this type of object referred to as a legend.

Legend: an explanatory list of the symbols on a map or chart


I don't actually know if there is a word for this, I imagine there must be, but this map instantly reminded me of those signs they put in nice lookouts, so perhaps that's a keyword you can use.

A related term could be Panoramic.

Some results for lookout map:

(source: njpalisades.org)

And panorama:
(originally included image doesn't exist anymore)


I think the correct term is infographics, they existed in maps, shopping mails, airports housing estate, landmarks and others areas of interests way before they were commonly used for various topics and charts.

  • 3
    Welcome to Graphic Design SE and thank you for trying to answer this question. However, I do not think that infographics is the term the asker is looking for, as it is much broader and covers several types that do not fit into the category outlined in the question.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Jun 30, 2019 at 16:29

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