London Bookground Map

Client: Personal work


London Bookground Map was the first side-step from the Greenground Map project to a new theme, connecting 350 public and specialist libraries across London with 12 thematic lines based on historic writers. The main idea behind the map was to visualise the expansive library network and make it easier to explore on foot, by bike or with public transport.

Grown out from personal interest in books and libraries the first map released in November 2022 mainly got attention from other book-lovers as well as library professionals based in London and internationally. The map was also featured by Londonist highlighting the importance of libraries as community and warm spaces during the raise of living cost

In an era of austerity and council cuts, our local libraries need all the support and attention they can get. The Bookground Map is a beautiful, bookish boost to these precious spaces. It’s the perfect gift for the London bibliophile in your life.
– Matt Brown, Londonist

A Tube-Style Map of London Libraries

Sheffield Greenground Map

Client: Sheffield City Council / The Outdoor City

Map design
Additional research

Sheffield Greenground Map was the first officially commissioned map I made in the summer of 2021, after Sheffield based runner Stephen Birch saw London map featured in Runner’s World and introduced me to Mark Mobbs, the marketing manager behind successful The Outdoor City brand envisioning Sheffield as a green sustainable city.

I loved working on this project as The Outdoor City large-scale vision encouraged me to think bigger than I normally would have and 22,000 maps were distributed across the information points, cafes and tourist venues. The map also received high-quality coverage in the Park Life section at the Sheffield Telegraph.

It’s only by looking at the first Greenground map of Sheffield that you can truly understand the vast amount of parks and green spaces our city really has to offer.
– Ellen Beardmore, Sheffield Telegraph

Whether you walk, run, ride, boulder, paddleboard or unicycle your way through our hills, Sheffield is a city that demands exploration and hopefully the Sheffield Greenground Map can help you explore more of it, by using the green spaces in between.
– The Outdoor City

The map was funded by The University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, Move More and The Sheffield Property Association.

A Greenground Map of Sheffield

Greenground Map – second edition

Client: Personal work

Social Media

The second generation Greenground Map was a larger verison of the first map published in the Spring of 2021 and became the new standard format for Greenground Maps. Eco-friendly A2 map expanded beyond London boundaries and included links with countryside and long-distance walks. The map included 800+ parks and open spaces and several new lines including Capital and Art Line.

If the first map was a fun quirky idea public loved then the second map was more serious piece of work going into more depth and including twice as many open spaces. The print-house printed second map was also published with ISBN number and is sold in several independent bookshops including the world famous Stanfords specialist map and travel bookshop in London.

The second edition map has received positive feedback from the specialists and public alike.

We’ve been a bit slow to get our hands on a copy of @HelenIlus London Greenground Map but oh, isn’t it wonderful. What a delight!
– London Ramblers on Twitter

I nabbed one of these for my father in law’s birthday last year – it’s totally changed how he sees his home territory of London. Really wonderful work by Helen.
– Electra Rhodes, Writer

London map display including Greenground Maps / Stanfords Instagram

Greenground Map – first edition

Client: Personal work

Social Media

First generation Greenground Maps grew out from a widely popular digital map I created in Spring 2019 to support the ideas of the London National Park City* movement. I initially printed 30 prototype maps in Spring 2020 and sold 100 maps over the summer. After a year I had sold 1000 London maps, more than 100 posters and created two more maps of Edinburgh and Bristol.

The main idea behind the map was to connect urban green spaces using the iconic London tube diagram format, inspiring people to see cities through their green infrastructure rather than transport network. Since it was first proposed the idea has received overwhelmingly positive feedback by the public and media with hundreds of shares and 100 K map downloads to date.

The first maps were open to comments in social media and were created by engaging the Twitter community, park friends and professionals, who suggested their favourite parks and green spaces for the maps. Based on personal research and community input the maps aim to change how we see cities and boost walking and cycling through nature.

‘Walker’s Tube Map’ Has Flourished Into Something Beautiful’
– Matt Brown, Londonist

Helen Ilus put a new twist on London mapping with her delightful “GreengroundMap”, a map of London’s green spaces and how best to navigate between them done in the style of the tube map.
– Steven Feldman, GeoMob Podcast

The project was featured by several media outlets such as Londonist, TimeOut and Positive News.

FLEGT toolkit

Inhouse: NEPCON Preferred by Nature

Graphic templates

I worked on developing the graphic interface and templates for the FLEGT project as an in-house webmaster in NEPCON, also doubling as design support creating visuals across the site and in print. The brief was to create information package for Vietnamese wood industry.

The main challenge for this project was to create templates that could be modified easily without graphic software to different languages. After looking into different options with project manager we decided to set the templates up in Publisher and Word for accessibility.

The information materials were displayed at the VIFA-EXPO 2015 in Vietnam.

eu-LISA Learning

Inhouse: eu-LISA Learning & Development


I worked as an external digital specialist for eu-LISA Learning & Development – visualising and adding content to in-house learning management system. We worked together with How To Moodle to implement the new interface and functionalities to existing LMS.

We wanted to keep the visuals aligned with the visual guideline of the organisation, but also make it motivational by choosing uplifting outdoor imagery for different activities such as appraisal or training. The platform was also central for independent learning resources.

The theme was featured at the How To Moodle blog as the Theme of the month in April 2018.

We loved working with eu-LISA on this theme. The theme displays an array of captivating visuals with it’s customisable slider, coupled with a clear frontpage content area to direct their learners to prominent information.

Minkki website

Client: University of Turkku/Turun Normaalikoulu

WordPress set-up
UI & graphical interface

Minkki was a language awareness project in collaboration between The University of Turku and Turun Normaalikoulu to develop an open resource for students acquiring language skills for learning different subjects though media and interactive assignments.

My role was to set up a WordPress website where the teachers could easily upload the learning materials under their teaching subject. After researching several options I chose Elementor website builder, which at the time was innovative visual editor for the WordPress.

The brief was the graphical interface should be easy to use, inspiring and friendly targeting young people from ages 12-15. The site had to be uncomplicated to use and accessible from different devices.

Mapping London

Client: Personal work

Map design

The idea for these maps came from personal interest in walking, urban nature and parks during the time London was about to be declared National Park City. Inspired by the concept I illustrated couple of maps depicting green walks through London parks.

The idea was picked up from social media by Mapping London’s editor Ollie O’Brien, who wrote an endorsing blog post reviewing the maps.

Mapping London really likes the strong design elements of these maps – greens and blues, and plenty of white space to present a decluttered look. You might know some or all of these parks already, if you live in London – but did you know you can link them together efficiently in this way?

Later these whimsical maps became prerequisite to London Greenground Maps.

Nurture Music School

Client: Nurture Music School

Logo design

The client, an independent music school based in San Francisco Bay area, wanted a friendly logo for the use on the school homepage and social media sites.

I worked with Saideh Eftekhari, the founder and head teacher of the school to develop her vision to final logo depicting growth and nurturing young talent.

Greening São Paulo Concept Map

Client: Geographical Mag

Map design
Additional research

The brief of this small half a page illustration was to create a concept map visualising the planned closing and greening the 3.5 km section of São Paulo’s Minhocão highway to benefit the community living next and even underneath the polluting express high-way.

I worked with the editor Paul Presley to develop the concept map based on his brief and some additional resources from local media. As there was no visualisations of the proposed project the final image depicts artistic vision based on the written information.

The challenge in this project was to create a concept based on very little information in a limited timeframe, but I really enjoyed working on this environment-positive and community focused story.

Story by Lottie Waters

Final selected illustration